With periods of dry and warm weather looming, the Fire and Rescue Department (FRD) urged the public to refrain from open burning as it can result in bush and forest fires.
Phase two of the Northeast Monsoon has had a significant impact on the nation from January which is likely to continue until March, FRD officials noted during a press conference in the Belait District.
According to statistics compiled by the FRD on emergency calls received with regard to bush and forest fires from February to April last year, 1,201 calls were logged affecting over 1,171 hectares of land.
“Among the causes for bush and forest fires were open burning left unattended originating from several sources including farming, recreational activities such as camping and fishing and many more,” Commanding Officer of Operation ‘B’ Branch Senior Superintendent of Fire and Rescue (SSFR) Muhd Shahreeni bin Haji Mohd Yussof said.
He advised the public to not conduct open burning during the dry season as this can lead to bush and forest fires which can spread affecting surrounding forest or residential areas.
The FRD also estimated that rainfall during these months is at the lowest compared to other months leading to dry and warm weather conditions.
“We are expecting the temperature to rise between 33 to 35 degrees Celsius, in addition to dry conditions and slightly cloudy weather,” SSFR Muhd Shahreeni said.
The FRD through its branches and fire stations across the country are continuously conducting patrols in areas prone to fires; which not only help fight fires but also ensure that no open burning activities are conducted.
SSFR Muhd Shahreeni also advised road-users to be careful during a bush or forest fire as it can lead to reduced vision which hampers driving and increases the chances of accidents.
“In case of a fire, we suggest the public to seek assistance from local authorities or to take immediate action in controlling and combatting a small fire while maintaining personal safety as the top priority,” he said.
SSFR Muhd Shahreeni said the public can contact the FRD through their emergency hotline at 995 or the Darussalam hotline 123 to alert the department in the event of a fire providing the location or address of the area.
The department also offers fire safety related courses.
Among them are the Fire Marshal Courses, Fire Safety Briefing and Life Saver 995 Briefing.
More information can be obtained by contacting the Public Relations Division at the Fire and Rescue Headquarters at 2382860 or 2380409 and through 111 during office hours.