FRD receives 564 calls on forest, bush fires

Azlan Othman

The Fire and Rescue Department (FRD) received 564 calls about forest and bush fires equivalent to 726 football fields from January to April 9.

The department also received 127 calls on forest fires and 65 about bush fires which destroyed nearly 114.92 hectares of land for forest fires and 17.08 hectares for bush fires between March 1 and April 9.

Most cases were reported from the Brunei-Muara District.

The FRD said yesterday Brunei Darussalam entered the monsoon transition period which is expected to continue until the end of May or early June.

This is the transition period from the Northeast to the Southwest monsoon. During this time, the absence of monsoon winds impacts local winds influencing the daily weather.

The frequency of thunderstorms is high during the transition monsoon period with the average rainy days for April being 17 and 18 for May, according to climatological records.

During this period, the country will generally experience hot and dry weather conditions, where rainfall is reduced due to stable atmospheric conditions.

Fire and Rescue personnel put out a bush fire.
Fire and Rescue personnel extinguish a bush fire. PHOTOS: FRD

However, heavy rains and thunderstorms can be experienced in the event of a temporary interruption at the atmosphere at a low level. This will encourage cloud formation and rainfall.

The department said currently, for the Kuala Belait area, peat forest fires are one of the challenges the firefighters face as a large area needs to be extinguished.

The fires are believed to have been caused naturally after a fire started underground as well as individuals conducting open burning and later abandoning the area.

Fire station officers throughout the country will patrol areas which report frequent fires to limit the fire from spreading in case one occurs.

The FRD urged the public to refrain from open burning. The FRD advised the public to avoid fishing and hunting in forest areas. If a person notices a minor fire along the road, it can be extinguished with water or sand to prevent it from spreading.

Road users along highways are advised to drive slowly and turn on the vehicle headlights when passing through an area affected by heavy smoke.

The public can report smoke caused by forest and bush fires and complaints on open burning by contacting the FRD emergency line 995 and Darussalam hotline 123.