Haze returns to Sri Aman, Miri after respite

An MMEA Bombardier CL415 aircraft carries out water bombing to quell bush fires in Kuala Baram, Sarawak, yesterday. (Bernama pic.)

KUCHING: After a respite, the haze worsened today in Sri Aman and Miri in Sarawak, where very unhealthy air quality was recorded.

The Air Pollutant Index (API) reading for Sri Aman at 10am was 241 and Miri 220 – up from 76 and 67, respectively, at midnight.

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

The Sarawak Fire and Rescue Department received 17 more reports of bush fires in the state as at 8am, bringing the total to 494 from Aug 1.

The department said in a statement that 563.21ha and two houses – one each in Kampung Sangki, Simunjan and Kampung Sedi in Pulau Bruit – were affected.

“On average, the department responds to 30 cases of bush fires every day and for today, Kuching recorded the highest number at eight cases followed by Miri (four) and Betong (three),” the statement added.

Yesterday, the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) reported that 198,000 litres of water was used to fight a forest fire in Kuala Baram, Sarawak, yesterday.

MMEA Sarawak director Robert Teh Geok Chuan said two flights, using the Bombardier CL415 aircraft, were carried out by the agency, at 9am and 2pm.

The water bombing method proved effective in controlling the spread of the fire, he said, adding that two more flights would be carried out today.