Every year, we prepare ourselves for (read: complain our butts off about) the forest fires in nearby Indonesia.
Forest fires in Singapore, though?
In case you didn’t know, Singapore has forest fires too.
It’s just that they aren’t as well-publicised, prolonged and headache-causing as the haze caused by those in Indonesia.
Until today, that is.
Fire Near Lim Chu Kang Chinese Cemetery
This image isn’t taken in Indonesia.
It’s taken in Singapore.
On the morning of Monday, March 4, a vegetation fire broke out near Lim Chu Kang Chinese Cemetery. A total of 8 emergency vehicles and 52 firefighters were involved.
The fire was about the length of one football field and involved piles of timber waste.
At 7.05 am on Monday morning, the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) was alerted to the fire and commenced firefighting operations till late in the night.
The nearest fire hydrants were about 2km away; 25 of their firefighters from the special rescue unit had to manually lay hoses in order to ensure the flow of a constant water supply.
They also set up portable pumps at intervals which helped increase the water pressure.
Fighting The Fire Throughout The Night
The SCDF updated the public with a Facebook post on Monday night, explaining that the fire was “slow burning” and “deep seated”. The nearby “thick vegetation” and “windy conditions” also worked to prolong their firefight through the night.
An onsite rehabilitation center was set up to allow the firefighters to take turns to recuperate.
Support from Singaporeans poured in, thanking the firefighters for their bravery and service, as well as reminding them to take care and rest if needed.
The SCDF responded to these well-wises by saying: “Your kind words keep their fighting spirit high even when the going gets really tough. Thank you!”
After a gruelling 19 hours, the fire was finally put out at around 2 am.
You can watch the video of the firefighting efforts here:
While most Singaporeans expressed sincere gratitude to the SCDF, some also speculated about the origins of the fire, particularly the piles of timber waste.
But really, from all of us at Goody Feed:
Thank you, SCDF, for being great at putting out fires and burning people on the internet.
Forest Fires in Singapore
Compared to the super complained about, annual Indonesian haze, forest fires in Singapore receive much less publicity.
However, due to Singapore’s extremely hot climate, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that we experience quite a number of vegetation fires too.
In 2016, the SCDF reported about 600 forest fires, about a 60% increase from 2015’s 368 fires.
What Causes Forest/Vegetation Fires?
The SCDF reports that it attends to about 350 roadside vegetation fires annually.
A majority of these fires are caused by cigarette butts, littered by motorists who throw their cigarette butts onto central dividers or roadside plants and trees. These cigarette butts then kindle the dry leaves and twigs which can accumulate along the roads.
Fires can also break out in areas where rubbish and waste is left to pile up.
The SCDF urges the public to be more mindful in order to prevent fires from breaking out.
Also, The World is Just Getting Hotter
Beyond that, climate change is a huge culprit.
With rising global temperatures, the number of hotspots is increasing in the northern ASEAN region. As Singapore is already really hot in the first place, we are naturally affected.
Just in the first 3 months of 2016 alone, 121 vegetation fires broke out in Singapore.
What To Do in a Fire
In a case where you are caught in a fire, here are some tips to help you stay safe
- Remain calm and call 995 for the SCDF (take this number down!)
- Alert everyone and get them to evacuate the area as quickly and orderly as possible
- Turn off accessible gas mains
- Use a fire extinguisher if you can
- Stay low and cover your mouth and nose as you evacuate. If the smoke is really bad, crawl on your hands and knees
- If you are trapped in a building, move to a window, open it and shout for help. Do not jump.
- If you see others who have collapsed or need help, help them only if you are in a good enough physical condition to do so. It not, inform the SCDF when you have evacuated the building and leave the rescuing to them
Stay safe everyone, and a huge thank you to the SCDF for their brave efforts!
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