Climbers trapped on Mount Lawu amid threats of forest fire

Climbers trapped on Mount Lawu amid threats of forest fire

Climbing path of Mount Lawu, Magetan Regency, East Java. (ANTARA PHOTO/Fikri Yusuf)

Magetan, E Java (ANTARA News) - Around 100 mountaineers remained trapped on the peak of Mount Lawu in Magetan District, East Java Province, amid threats from a forest fire engulfing part of the mountain, a disaster mitigation agency`s official said.

A rescue team had been deployed to evacuate the trapped climbers, Head of the Magetan Disaster Mitigation Agency`s Emergency and Logistics Unit Fery Yoga Saputra said here on Monday evening.

"The rescue team members comprising local volunteers, and personnel of the Magetan Disaster Mitigation Agency and National Search and Rescue Agency have started climbing on Monday afternoon," he said.

The trapped climbers were part of 200 mountaineers, who climbed Mount Lawu on Sunday. Around 100 of them had gone down while the remaining 100 might still be on the mountain`s peak area, he said.

Due to the forest fire, which again engulfs certain parts of the mountain`s northern and southern slopes, the local authorities notified that the Mount Lawu`s climbing trails have temporarily been closed since Monday.

The fire-fighting efforts have been made since Sunday evening, he added.

The forest fire on the mountain, located on the border of Central and East Java, had reportedly destroyed at least 25-30 hectares of land.

Owing to its scenic view, beautiful Edelweiss flowers, and crater, Mt Lawu has become one of the mountains in the Indonesian island of Java, which is frequently scaled by mountaineers.

Meanwhile, a forest fire also engulfed certain parts of Mount Sindoro in Temanggung District, Central Java Province, though, according to a spokesman of the National Disaster Mitigation Agency, it could have been extinguished.

The forest fire destroyed around 156 hectares of land, and the local authorities still closed the mountain`s climbing trails, BNPB Spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said.

Local residents and visitors, who want to perform an annual ritual to commemorate the Javanese New Year, or commonly known as 1 Suro, are not allowed to climb the mountain for safety reasons, he noted.

The fire could likely engulf the affected areas due to the drought and strong winds, he explained, adding that the climbing trails had been closed to prevent people from climbing.

Reporting by Louis Rika/Siswowidodo
Editing by Rahmad Nasution

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