Singapore bushfires hit nearly decade high in January
SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Island-state Singapore faced the largest number of bushfires in nearly a decade in January, thanks to an unusually long dry spell, the government's anti-fire agency said Wednesday. The tropical nation saw 182 vegetation fires in January, mostly due to the dry spell, which the Singapore Civil Defense Force said was "unprecedented."
"The Jan figures of 182 bush fires responded is the most number of incidents attended to by the force in almost a decade," Lieutenant Colonel N. Subhas said in an email reply to Reuters.
There were already 110 fires in the first 16 days of February, Subhas said.
The agency urged the public to avoid dumping of rubbish and materials on vacant lands to prevent fires.
Singapore's pollutants standards index reached its year high Sunday and the weather agency blamed it on the record number of bush fires, dry weather and weak winds that failed to blow the smoke particles away, the Straits Times newspaper said.
Singapore's climate is divided into two main seasons -- the December-March northeast monsoon and the June-September southwest monsoon, in which February is supposed to be the driest month.
(Reporting by Nopporn Wong-Anan; Editing by Neil Chatterjee and Sanjeev Miglani)
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