Air quality in Kuala Baram worsen as it recorded an API reading of 119 as at 4pm. - NSTP/Courtesy of Fire and Rescue Dept.

KUALA LUMPUR: The continued forest fires in Sumatra and Kalimantan, Indonesia, has seen the haze drift to the Peninsula and several parts of Sarawak.

Department of Environment (DoE) Air Division director Mashitah Darus said a total of 95 hot spots in Kalimantan, 43 in Sumatra and one in Kelantan were detected as of Friday.

According to the Asean Specialised Meteorological Centre (ASMC) website, she said, the northwest wind blowing from the two Indonesian regions had affected the west coast of Peninsula, west of Sarawak. The shifting haze has in turn contributed to the increase in the Air Pollutant Index (API) reading.

“The forest fire (in Kuala Baram) had also begun to spread again and the smoke from the fire has contributed to the unhealthy reading in Kuala Baram and very unhealthy API readings at the Industrial Training Institute (ILP) Miri in Sarawak.

“Sri Aman in Sarawak has also registered a very unhealthy API reading due to the nearby peat fire activity and cross-border haze from Kalimantan.

“The unhealthy API in Rompin, Pahang, was due to peat forest fire covering 200 acres at Ladang Ibam in Bebar, Pekan, and has seen an increased API reading at the station.

“The fire department has put out the fire in those areas. However it was difficult to be carried out as there was no access to the affected areas,” she told New Straits Times.

The air quality in Sri Aman, Miri and Kuala Baram had also deteriorated again with ‘unhealthy’ and ‘very unhealthy’ API readings respectively as of Saturday evening.

The API reading for Sri Aman and Miri registered at 247 and 222 respectively, while Kuala Baram stood at 119 as of 4pm, said Mashitah.

“Meanwhile Rompin recorded an API reading of 103,” she added.

An API reading of between 0 and 50 is ‘good’, 51 to 100 is ‘moderate’, 101 to 200 is ‘unhealthy’, 201 to 300 ‘very unhealthy’, and 301 and above is ‘hazardous’.

She also said the department had increase its enforcement action and daily patrol activity at the potential areas of open burning as well as monitoring the API reading from time to time.