Vegetation fire near Lim Chu Kang cemetery put out early Tuesday after 19-hour operation

The blaze near Lim Chu Kang Chinese Cemetery involved piles of timber waste and was approximately the size of one football field in length. ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR
SCDF firefighters recuperating at an on-site rest area. PHOTO: FACEBOOK/SINGAPORE CIVIL DEFENCE FORCE
The deep-seated fire, together with the abundance of thick vegetation nearby and windy conditions, prolonged the firefighting operation, said the SCDF. ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR

SINGAPORE - A vegetation fire near Lim Chu Kang Chinese Cemetery was extinguished at 2am on Tuesday (March 5), following a 19-hour firefighting operation by the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) that lasted through the night.

This was one of the longest SCDF operations involving vegetation fire in recent years, it said in a final update on the fire on Tuesday morning.

Earlier on Monday, SCDF said that it responded to an alert on the fire at about 7.05am on Monday. The blaze involved piles of timber waste and was approximately the size of one football field.

"Due to the slow burning, deep-seated fire, coupled with the abundance of nearby thick vegetation and windy conditions, the prolonged firefighting operations are... still ongoing," said the SCDF in its Facebook post at 8.23pm.

As the nearest fire hydrants are about 2km from the fire, 25 firefighters from the Special Rescue Unit had to manually lay hoses across the distance to maintain a constant water supply for firefighting, said the SCDF.

Portable pumps were also set up at intermediate points to boost the water pressure for effective firefighting, it added.

A total of eight emergency vehicles and 52 firefighters were deployed, and three water jets were used to bring the fire under control.

SCDF said that an on-site rest area was set up for the firefighters to take turns to recuperate.

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In an update on Facebook at about 10am, SCDF said that damping down operations to prevent the fire from rekindling from the hot burnt surfaces are underway.

SCDF also thanked the public for their support, concern and well-wishes for its frontline officers.

"Your kind words keep their fighting spirit high even when the going gets really tough. Thank you!"

Annual statistics released by the SCDF last month said that nearly 600 vegetation fires occurred in 2018, an increase of nearly 60 per cent compared to 368 in the previous year.

This was largely due to the dry weather in February last year, which had 213 vegetation fires compared to 17 during the same period in 2017, said the SCDF.

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