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Bushfires blaze across Singapore

ISLAND-STATE Singapore faced the largest number of bushfires in nearly a decade in January, due to an unusually long dry spell, the government's anti-fire agency said yesterday.

The tropical nation saw 182 vegetation fires last month, mostly due to the dry spell, which the Singapore Civil Defense Force said was "unprecedented."

"The January figures of 182 wildfires responded is the most number of incidents attended to by the force in almost a decade," Lieutenant Colonel N. Subhas said in an e-mail reply to Reuters.

There have already been at least 110 fires in the first 16 days of February, Subhas said.

The agency urged the public to avoid dumping rubbish and materials on vacant lands to prevent fires.

Singapore's pollutants standards index reached its year high on Sunday. The weather agency blamed it on the record number of bushfires, 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.


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