Raging forest fire spreads to 98ha in Johor

Flames from a forest fire light up the sky near the Legoland theme park in Medini Iskandar Puteri, Johor. (Bernama pic)

JOHOR BAHRU: Strong winds have fanned a raging forest fire at Kampung Pekajang in Iskandar Puteri, near here, which has spread over 98 hectares today from just 16 hectares on Friday.

The fire started on Friday afternoon during a spell of dry weather in the state.

Johor Fire and Rescue Department director Yahaya Madis said officers of the department had worked hard for 24 hours to handle the fire and had extinguished 45 per cent or 44 hectares.

The operation was carried out by 79 members including senior officers from 10 stations in Zone 1 Johor and a station from Zone 2 Johor.

In addition, five 20,000-litre capacity water tankers were used to transport water taken from nearby fire hydrants to extinguish the fire.

He added that the source of the water had to be taken from a nearby fire hydrant because the existing river in the area could not accommodate the extinguishing operation.

“Today it drizzled a little and thus did not have much effect on the extinguishing operation. Based on the current situation, it is expected to take four days to put out. But if the ‘flooding’ technique can be completed immediately, there is a possibility that the fire will be extinguished soon,” he said when contacted by Bernama today.

Yahaya said some people had suggested that cloud seeding activities be carried out in the area to assist in the firefighting operation. The proposal was brought up by executive councillor Dzulkefly Ahmad, who is Kota Iskandar assemblyman.

“Following the proposal, the Meteorological Department was present at the site of the fire to observe the formation of clouds but the result would probably be 50 percent successful due to low cloud moisture,” he said.