Water-bomber deployed as Penang Hill fires spread

The water bomber tries to douse the fires raging on Penang Hill - Photograph: Phee Boon Poh/Facebook

A Canadian-made water-bomber, a Bombardier 415 operated by the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency, was deployed yesterday evening as the smouldering Penang Hill fires spread to 10 hot spots.

Blog contact LJ reported that he witnessed the amphibious aircraft buzzing over Pulau Tikus for about 45 minutes before dusk yesterday.

Another concerned Penangite reported: “Yesterday afternoon the … plane was working like crazy, flying in scooping up water in front of Gurney drive. Was working until dusk.”

The first water bomb was released just before 6.30pm.

These water bombers, designed for use in aerial fire-fighting, are capable of picking up fresh water or sea water and dumping it on the fire.

A Bombardier 415 water-bomber - Photograph: Flight Global
A Bombardier 415 water-bomber – Photograph: Flight Global

The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency, responsible for patrolling Malaysian waters, reportedly ordered two Bombardier 415 multipurpose amphibious aircraft in 2008.

Penang State ExCo member Phee Boon Poh reported yesterday evening: “Please take note that the peat fire on Bukit Bendera has spread from six hotspots to 10 hotspots. … Aerial Water bombing using seawater is ongoing due to the (in)accessibility.

“All agencies are on full alert and reporting to the command centre. All hiking activities in affected areas including the path leading up is now prohibited. Please take note that a safety-first policy is strictly implemented.”

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28 Feb 2014 3.36pm

Anil, can HAARP caused forest fire? Past 3weeks didn’t sight HAARP clouds. Tq.

27 Feb 2014 1.56pm

The water bomber can navigate with ease with “botak hill” as anchor reference so that they don’t bomb off target !

so far we still don’t know the true source (culprit) of “black water” discharged into the sea off feringghi.

the authority (penang gomen or federal) pls don’t divert our attention to the smoke’fire. Pls take appropriate action against those responsible for pollution of sea and air.

Penang Hill Watch Man
Penang Hill Watch Man
27 Feb 2014 5.33pm
Reply to  henson

you still love botak hills after all these hill burning!
Are you suggesting more botak hills on flimsy excuses (for water bombers)???
Go drink more kopi-o

27 Feb 2014 12.43pm

if LGE really cares about making Penang a better place to live, he should extend the plastic bag free campaign to total ban on open burning. Go to Air Itam area at 5-6pm, you will see open burning everywhere and everyday. Afterall the smoke they produce are carcinogenic, and will aggravate asthmatic attacks.

27 Feb 2014 12.13pm

For the first time in its history, Penang is now on fire no thanks to the clearing of our beloved greenery in the lowland and highland for fast track development without concern for the environment

27 Feb 2014 8.38am

If this water bomber used sea water, the effect on targeted & surrounding flora could be devastating: sea water won’t support plant life on land. See what has happened to Acheh ago-land after the Tsunami 2004. Is there any backup emergency fire fighting measure to collect streaming water from rivers after it left the forest (instead of flowing straight into the seas)? The Sg Nibong Pesta site with its vast empty spaces could be used to store raw water tanks for such emergency needs. Also, day trekkers of Penang Hill can volunteer to be fire watchers. Smokers, pls refrain your… Read more »