State Department of Environment (DOE) director Rosli Zul said the numbers have increased compared to only 47 peat fire hot spots identified in the corresponding period last year.
“The standard operating procedures (SOP) to tackle peat fires especially those prone to burning issues that results haze has been in place since 2009.
“We now want to ensure the SOP is being followed by all agencies including the Mineral and Geoscience Department, Drainage and Irrigation Department; Fire and Rescue department; Forestry department and the local councils in the state.
“Since there is around 3,357.237 sq meter (36,137 sq foot) of peat soil throughout Pahang, encompassing the district of Pekan, Rompin and Kuantan, we certainly need to adhere to a certain guideline,” he said in his speech when opening the SOP workshop on implementing the peat fire prevention programme to overcome haze here today.
Rosli’s speech was read out by his deputy, Mahamud Ismail.
A total of 56 participants attended the two-day workshop.
Rosli said among the efforts to ensure continuous water supply at the peat soil areas during the dry season include preparing infrastructures, namely, water barriers, tube wells and water catchment ponds to keep the area moist.
He said besides monitoring the area, the construction of a lookout point in the vicinity would also help in identifying the fire prone peat lands below.
“For infrastructure purposes, we have 70 water barriers, 13 tube wells and five catchment ponds. Currently, 13 water barriers and a tube well are under construction with a cost of RM460,000 and will be completed this year.
“Pahang DOE have also discussed with the plantation owners to prepare similar facilities in their respective areas. We will arrange a series of briefing on open burning with the farmers or farm operators to ensure all the information reaches the concerned parties,” he said.