KUANTAN: Some 40ha of forest and peat land near the Gebeng Industrial area, near here, caught fire yesterday afternoon.
Thick smoke enveloped the industrial area today as firemen and Gebeng Emergency Mutual Aid (Gema) members worked to prevent the blaze from spreading to the nearby Kuantan bypass stretch and Malaysia-China Kuantan Industrial Park (MCKIP).
Pahang Fire and Rescue Department chief Nor Hisham Mohammed said the fire broke out about 2.30pm yesterday and firemen were working around the clock to bring the situation under control.
“The affected area is about 101ha and fire is ravaging some 40ha of land,” he said.
“Some anglers were spotted leaving a lake in the area where the fire started.
“So, we believe they might be responsible for it...maybe it was sparked by a cigarette butt.”
He said firemen were stationed along the Kuantan bypass-Kuantan Port stretch to ensure that the fire did not spread to MCKIP and the smoke would not pose a threat to motorists.
He said 20 fire fighters from Gebeng and 14 Gema members had teamed up to put out the forest and peat fires.
“Two fire engines including assets from Lynas Corporation and Petronas Chemicals MTBE Sdn Bhd have been deployed at the scene.
“We are also using drones to monitor the situation on the ground, including the wind direction and new fire sites.
“Currently, the wind is pushing the smoke towards Kuantan town and we believe later at night the wind will push the smoke towards this area,” he said, adding that there had been a rising trend in the number of reports on forest and peat fires in Pahang since Saturday.
“The department received 24 reports on open burning on Saturday, 20 on Sunday and 19 yesterday. An 8ha plantation in Muadzam Shah and a road in Nenasi, Pekan, were also affected by forest fires,” he said.