JKR prepares for future forest fires

National 1 minute, 32 seconds

BELAIT

THREE excavators have been stationed by the Public Works Department (JKR) opposite the Seria bypass to dig pits and fire breaks as part of a long-term solution to combat forest fires in the area.

The digging of pits comes at the request of the Fire and Rescue Department, which routinely faces a shortage of water sources to tap into in the immediate vicinity of forest fires, especially those located opposite highways.

The seven pits along the 16 to 20KM point of the Seria bypass are being filled with water flowing from connecting channels that were dug to borrow pits further inland.

Four fire breaks have also been constructed further down the bypass at the 23 to 25KM point.

The Fire and Rescue Commanding Officer of Belait District Branch B, Muhd Shareeni Hj Mohd Yusof, said the pits would prove vital if fires reignite in the future.

“The purpose is to provide a water source for us and is part of our preparations if a fire were to start again in the same area,” he said.

The water from the pits could additionally be used to fill the water storage tanks of fire trucks needing water in the area.

When forest fires along the bypass were at their most severe in February, fire fighters had to set up a makeshift dam holding between eight to 12 thousand litres of water which would be filled by water tankers from JKR and the Department of Environment, Parks and Recreation (JASTRe).

The commanding officer previously said that a substantial amount of water is required to fight peat fires, as the soil has to be “totally flooded” to prevent the fire from spreading below the surface.

“Just putting out the fires on top (of the ground) isn’t enough, as the peat could still be burning below the surface,” he said.

The Brunei Times