FIRE PREVENTION AND WATER MANAGEMENT IN PEATLANDS
The programme was mooted in 2009 and continued under the Tenth Malaysia Plan (10MP) which involved collaboration from lead agencies under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (NRE) with the 1NRE spirit. Lead agencies involved were Department of Environment, Department of Irrigation and Drainage, Department of Mineral and Geoscience and Forestry Department, and as well as from the Local Authorities namely Miri City Council and Residence’s Office of Miri Sarawak.
The fire prevention and water management programme in peatlands comprises of three main components such as:-
(1) Construction of canal blocks or check dams to increase peatlands’ water levels and retain humidity thus making it difficult to burn;
(2) Construction of underground water tube wells for fire suppression;
(3) Construction of watch towers for enhanced surveillance; and
(4) Public awareness raising through establishment of warning signs on open burning.
The programme was implemented in 6 (six) states that have extensive fire prone peatland areas namely in Selangor, Johor, Pahang, Kelantan, Sarawak and Sabah.
A Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for implementation of this programme was prepared in 2010 to spell out inter-agency roles and responsibilities in prevention, monitoring and mitigation of peatland fires that could contribute to local haze pollution. Among others, regular checking of the peat infrastructures (such as check dam, tube well and watch tower), patrolling and early warning system for fire detection.
Until 31st November 2013, a total of 137 check dams were constructed namely in; Johor (54), Pahang (37), Sarawak (23), Selangor (8), Kelantan (11) and Sabah (4). A total of 40 tube wells were constructed; Sarawak (10), Pahang (10), Johor (6), Selangor (4), Kelantan (5) and Sabah (5). A total of 3 watch towers were constructed each in the state of Selangor, Pahang and Sarawak.
• Tube well and check dam
• Watch tower
• Public awareness raising on fire prevention