Tuesday, February 17, 2009

S'porean concern about Aussie-type fire disaster here

S'porean concern about Aussie-type fire disaster here
As the bushfires in Australia cause a staggering amount of damage to lives and property, Singaporeans have become concerned about the vegetation fires that have erupted here.

On Feb 12, STOMPer YW posted an article upon discovering the bushes all cleared along Upper Serangoon Road, leaving only ashes in its wake.

More recently, there was another fire at Bukit Batok on the evening of Feb 16, and four STOMPers emailed STOMP. Ming commented that although the fire was contained, it erupted into huge fireballs several times.

As for STOMPer WS, he expressed his confusion about how the fire started, as it had been raining beforehand.

STOMP contacted SCDF and this was their reply to the Bukit Batok fire on Feb 16:

"The fire was located on the top of the hill, rendering it difficult to access.

"The affected area was the size of two basketball courts.

"The fire was under control approximately 30 minutes after SCDF arrived on the scene."

When questioned about people's concerns that this could turn into an Aussie-type fire disaster, SCDF had this to say:

"This fire was different to deal with as it was on top of a hill.

"We do have an advisory for people to follow.

"One, do not throw lighted materials such as cigarettes in fields and rubbish dumps.

"Two, do not dispose rubbish in open fields and gardens. Rubbish dumps provide fuel to sustain fires.

"Three, households with gardens should keep the grass watered.

"Four, incense papers should be burned in the bins provided and kept a safe distance away from combustible materials.

"When the ritual is over, the surroundings should be checked for smouldering remains to ensure that materials are completely extinguished."

Read their articles:
"Terrifying to see huge balls of fire in S'pore"
Bukit Batok bushfire a surreal experience for fire safety engineer
Bushfire starts despite earlier rain
Firemen battle hilltop bush-fire in Bukit Batok
Look at the damage wreaked by S'pore's own bush-fire in Sengkang
Yet another bush-fire at Bukit Batok

Go here for relevant news articles and related Seen on STOMP posts on bushfires in Singapore

What can I say? With the increase in bushfires, today saw a sudden spate of fiery posts on STOMP. I don't think I can recall any other year in recent memory where we faced such a problem with bushfires.

So much for the passing shower yesterday afternoon. Today, the heat is back with a vengeance. I'm hoping that people are more aware of the impact of their thoughtless actions; a carelessly thrown cigarette butt or lit joss paper blowing about can start a conflagration. Singapore doesn't have a fire awareness mascot like Smokey Bear, but it would do for people to be more careful about preventing and managing fire, both in the home and out of doors
When I'm on fire
When you're near me
I'm on fire
When you speak
And I'm on fire
Burning at these mysteries

- On Fire by Switchfoot