Bush fires destroy 161.17 hectares

|     James Kon     |

THE forest and bush fires in the Brunei-Muara District from March 15-18 destroyed 161.17 hectares of forest.

In light of this, Brunei-Muara District Officer Misle bin Haji Abdul Karim, Acting Director at the Department of Civil Aviation Abdul Ghani bin Haji Othman, Deputy Director of Fire and Rescue Lim Hock Guan and other senior officials yesterday visited several sites affected by the bush fires.

The officials’ first stop was the Incident Command Post at the Radar Station, where they were briefed by Commanding Officer of Operations ‘C’ Branch Senior Superintendent of Fire and Rescue Pengiran Azizul Rahman bin Pengiran Haji Yusop, on the action taken in the affected areas, as well as the challenges encountered.

These challenges faced by firefighters included lack of oxygen caused by thick smoke, high temperatures, hilly terrain which made it difficult to bring in essential equipment, limited water supplies and strong winds that caused the flames to spread rapidly. The officials then inspected the affected areas located in the vicinity of the Radar Station, the Universiti Teknologi Brunei (UTB) Storage, the Universiti Brunei Darussalam and International Business Machines (UBD|IBM) Centre, the UBD water tanks, the UBD Chancellor Hall and at Jalan 99 in RPN Kampong Rimba.

Following the recent outbreak of bush fires, the Fire and Rescue Department (FRD) in a statement urged all stakeholders, as well as the owners of assets and premises, to have a firebreak zone of least 50 metres, particularly in the development of housing areas that are surrounded by forest.

The statement also reminded the public to refrain from open burning, and to assist in putting out small fires before they spread out into a huge blaze.

“While putting out the small fires, make sure that your safety comes first,” the FRD advisory warned.

The public is also urged to contact 995 or the Darussalam line at 123, to report forest or bush fires, or to lodge complaints on open burning.

Firefighters battling the forest and bush fires
Brunei-Muara District Officer Misle bin Haji Abdul Karim, Acting Director at the Department of Civil Aviation Abdul Ghani bin Haji Othman, Deputy Director of Fire and Rescue Lim Hock Guan and other officials listen to a briefing on the affected areas at the Incident Command Post located at Radar Station
Firefighters battling the forest and bush fires. – PHOTOS: FRD