KUCHING: The effort to extinguish peat fires at three locations in Sri Aman began with drones mapping the areas yesterday as part of the full operation involving air unit assets scheduled for Saturday.
Sarawak Fire and Rescue Department (JBPM) director Khirudin Drahman, said mapping of the area was important for the purpose of planning and formulating firefighting strategies.
“This is our usual practice during operations, we deployed two drones yesterday. We could have used the helicopter if there were no haze,” he told reporters after the closing ceremony of the “Kenyalang Mapping Technology Ground Research and Rescue” programme here today.
Khirudin said the operation, which is being mobilised using land routes and covering 30%of the entire 161ha area where the fire is raging, could only be assisted by the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency-owned Bombardier CL-415 aircraft on Saturday as it is currently undergoing maintenance.
He said that while the maintenance of the Bombardier CL-415 aircraft was underway, the department will look for water sources that will be used during the operation.
“We have decided to take the water from Sungai Lingga. So, the river area should be cleared of fishing activities and we will also carry out mapping on the river to facilitate the process of water scooping,” he said.
As at 7pm today, the Air Pollutant Index (API) reading in Sri Aman was at a very unhealthy level of 208, while the reading in Kuching was recorded at 264.
An API between zero and 50 indicates good air quality; 51 and 100, moderate; 101 and 200, unhealthy; 201 and 300, very unhealthy and 301 and above, hazardous.
For the latest information on the haze and related matters, refer to the Bernama portal at www.bernama.com. — Bernama