Kedah recorded the highest number of open burning fires as result of the El Nino phenomenon so far this year, said Malaysian Fire and Rescue Department (Bomba) director-general, Datuk Wira Wan Mohd Nor Ibrahim.

He said from Jan 1 until March 13, Kedah Bomba received 1,248 emergency calls on fires compared to 1,269 for the whole of last year.

"The fires involved bush, lalang, forest, fields and dumpsites," he said.

"Kedah recorded the highest number of phone calls (on open burining), followed by Sabah (1,219s) and Perak (991) while there were only six in Putrajaya," he told reporters after attending an Excellent Service Awards Ceremony for Kedah, Perlis and Penang Bomba staff here yesterday.

He said a total of 7,757 forest fires cases were recorded throughout the country from Jan 1 to March 13.

He added that most of the fires were caused by negligence such as open burning and indiscriminately discarding cigarette butts.