Amidst a surreal hazy backdrop, a Canadian-made Bombardier 415 Super Scooper continued its aerial water-bombing this morning in a bid to douse the persistent Penang Hill fires.
The amphibious aircraft, operated by the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency, made about a dozen runs after 11.00am, scooping up sea water off Gurney Drive and dropping it on the hill areas above the Penang Botanic Garden.
The runs were made every five to eight minutes after the water pick-ups, which lasted about 15 seconds each time the aircraft touched down on the sea.
According to Wikipedia, the aircraft requires 1340m of flyable area to descend from 15m altitude, scoop 6137 litres of water during a 12-second 410m-long run on the water at 130km/h, and then climb back to 15m altitude.
The smoky backdrop may be a prelude of things to come in a world where many refuse to acknowledge worsening climate change and instead continue to worship at the Altars of Development, Consumerism and Economic Growth. It is Business As Usual. Make hay while the sun shines. But hey, has anyone noticed, the sun ain’t shining anymore! Well, we can still shop till we drop – a task made easier as many are increasingly weighed down by a growing debt burden. Ah, the price of Progress.
The key questions playing in my mind right now are these: are these simultaneous fires caused by the dry spell and if so what is causing the dry spell? Is it a natural seasonal occurrence (but then we have never before witnessed so many fires breaking out simultaneously, have we)? Or is the dry spell caused by the worsening the environmental degradation of Penang Hill or climate change or both?
Air quality in penang getting worse everyday. Penang hill still on fire. Can smell the smoke from George Town pic.twitter.com/oDgkmTNu6W
— NatNat (@pawsie494) February 28, 2014
Do you see the fires still smouldering where you are? And what do you think is causing these fires?