Wildfires gutted over 60 hectares of Aceh forest

Banda Aceh, Aceh (ANTARA News) - Wildfires have gutted more than 60 hectares of forest and bush areas in West Aceh District, Aceh Darussalam Province, due to drought.

Wildfires had spread to wider areas in the western coast of Sumatras northernmost province, Yusmadi, head of the Aceh disaster mitigation office, said here, Monday.

He opined that several local farmers had started the fires to clear farming land during the ongoing drought.

"This is caused by farmers and not companies. They cleared land and burnt dried leaves, but the fires spread deep into the forest," he remarked.

Last week, Captain Sudarsono, commander of the Johan Pahlawan regional military command, had said that around 50 hectares of peatland area in West Aceh was gutted by fires.

Meanwhile, the meteorological, climatology and geophysics agency has detected 73 hotspots in 10 provinces across Sumatra Island on Monday morning.

Of the total 73 hotspots, 14 were found in North Sumatra; 13 in Riau; 10 in Aceh; eight respectively in Jambi, South Sumatra, and Bengkulu; six in West Sumatra; four in Bangka Belitung; and one each in Riau Islands and Lampung, Sukisno, head of the Pekanbaru meteorology office, said.(*)