The poor air quality in the city has been attributed to a forest and peatland fire in Kuala Baram, which has seen over 600 hectares of land go up in smoke. -- Photo courtesy of Fire and Rescue Department

KUCHING: The chocking haze in Miri worsened today, (Aug 11).

Air Pollutant Index (API) readings at the Industrial Training Institute (ILP) Miri, which breached the ‘hazardous’ level this week, spiked to 388 at 12 noon.

The poor air quality in the city has been attributed to a forest and peatland fire in Kuala Baram, which has seen over 600 hectares of land go up in smoke.

Elsewhere in Sarawak, the majority of API stations recorded moderate readings of between 57 and 98. The locations include Kuching, Samarahan, Sibu and Bintulu.

The state Fire and Rescue Department said that it recorded 250 forest and peatland fires since Aug 1, including nine cases detected today.

"Yesterday, a total 58 cases were reported, which is the highest thus far.

“Hence, the public is advised to stay indoors and avoid burning activities," said a spokesman.

The API is categorised as ‘good’ from 0 to 50, ‘moderate’ (51 to 100), ‘unhealthy’ (101 to 200), ‘very unhealthy’ (201 to 300), and ‘hazardous’ (301 and above).

In SELANGOR, the API reading at 2pm was an ‘unhealthy’ 126 – but it was a drop from the previous reading of 129.

Meanwhile, a check with the Asean Specialised Meteorological Centre’s (ASMC) website showed that there are more than 100 hotspots in Kalimantan and parts of Sarawak, as of Saturday.

According to the latest satellite image uploaded to the centre’s website, 15 of the hotspots are in Sarawak, while the rest are in Kalimantan.