Fires in Johor still the likely cause of lingering burning smell in Singapore; third hot spot found

The National Environment Agency received multiple reports of a burning smell, mainly in the eastern and central regions of Singapore and noted that periods of dry weather are common in the surrounding region at this time of the year, which can lead t
The National Environment Agency received multiple reports of a burning smell, mainly in the eastern and central regions of Singapore and noted that periods of dry weather are common in the surrounding region at this time of the year, which can lead to outbreaks of land and vegetation fires.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

SINGAPORE - Fires in Johor continue to be the likely culprit behind the lingering burning smell here, with a third hot spot detected by the National Environment Agency (NEA).

Singaporeans may also have to bear with the smell and a slight haze if the fires persist, the agency said on Wednesday evening (March 6) in response to queries.

In its statement, the NEA said it had received multiple reports of a burning smell, mainly in the eastern and central regions of Singapore, on Tuesday evening.

It detected smoke plumes from three hot spots in southern Johor to the east and north-east of Singapore.

"With the prevailing north or north-easterly winds, these fires are the likely cause of the burning smell experienced by the public on Tuesday evening," it added.

Last Wednesday, The Straits Times reported that a second hot spot had been detected in Johor, the likely cause behind the burning smell Singaporeans had reported earlier that week.

An earlier fire was put out by local firemen with the help of rain. That fire was the likely cause of the burning smell reported in ST on Feb 25.

Since early last month, the burning smell has come and gone.

 
 
 

There were reports of the smell on Feb 8 and 17, and in both cases, the smell was likely caused by Johor fires.

The NEA said on Wednesday that prevailing winds are expected to continue blowing from the north or north-east in the next few days.

"We may experience a burning smell and slight haze if the fires in Johor persist," it added.

The agency also noted that periods of dry weather are common in the surrounding region at this time of the year, and this can lead to outbreaks of land and vegetation fires.

The Pollution Standards Index across Singapore has ranged from 47 to 67 since 6pm on Tuesday. This is within the "good" range and at the lower end of the "moderate" range.

The one-hour PM2.5 readings ranged from six to 48 micrograms per cubic metre, in the "normal" range. PM2.5 is the dominant pollutant during haze episodes.

Ambient volatile organic compounds levels were also within safety limits.

Normal activities can continue with the current air quality, the NEA said, adding that it is monitoring the air quality and will provide updates on significant changes.