Banda Aceh, Aceh (ANTARA News) - Wildfires in West Aceh District, Aceh Province, had destroyed some 222.5 hectares (ha) of land and forest areas in July, an official from the disaster mitigation agency stated here on Wednesday.

The blaze mostly occurred in peatland areas in nine sub-districts located in the provinces western coast, Yusmadi, head of the provincial disaster mitigation agency, stated in the capital city of Banda Aceh.

According to the agencys record, Johan Palawan Sub-district ranked as the worst-affected, with a total of 98.5 ha of damaged area, followed by Meureubo Sub-district, with 51 ha; Kaway XVI, 16 ha; and Bubon, 15 ha.

Wildfires also raged in four other sub-districts, such as Sama Tiga Lahan, where an area of 10 ha was ravaged, six ha of Arongan Lambalek, four ha of Woyla, and one ha of Sungai, Yusmadi stated.

Earlier in July, the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) had deployed two helicopters to drop water bombs on several major hotspots.

"Thank God, as the helicopters were deployed and the rainfall now, the fires and haze have gradually dispersed," Yusmadi stated.

Meanwhile, on a separate occasion, BNPBs health and clean water chairman, Jarwansyah, noted last week that the agency had deployed five pilots to stamp out the fires.

"Though the fires had been extinguished in some locations, we still found several hotspots in the district," Jarwansyah remarked.

Due to the fires and thick haze, the economy and social sectors were disrupted in the district, while hundreds of people were suffering from acute respiratory infections.

Apart from Aceh Province, wildfires also raged in some other provinces, including West Sumatra, Riau, and Central Kalimantan. The blaze was mainly caused by illegal logging activities, plantations, drought, and the long dry season.(*)

Editor: Heru Purwanto
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