JOHOR BAHRU: Strong winds over the past few days caused a forest fire in the Malaysian state of Johor to spread to a new area of 98 hectares on Sunday (Aug 25), more than the 16 hectares on Friday.
The Johor Fire and Rescue Department (JBPM) took 24 hours to tackle the blaze at Kampung Pekajang in Iskandar Puteri.
Firefighters managed to extinguish 45 per cent - or 44 hectares - of the fire, the department's director Yahaya Madis said.
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.
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, said Yahaya.
"Today it drizzled a little and thus did not have much effect on the extinguishing operation," he said. “Based on the current situation, it is expected to take four days."
"But if the 'flooding' technique can be completed immediately, there is a possibility that the fire will be extinguished soon."
Yahaya said some people had suggested cloud seeding activities be carried out in the area to assist in the firefighting operation.
The proposal was voiced by the state housing, communications and multimedia committee chaired by the Kota Iskandar assemblyman Dzulkefly Ahmad.
"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 per cent successful due to low cloud moisture," said Yahaya.
The fire started on Friday afternoon due to the dry weather in the state.