Aceh's six-hectare palm oil plantation area ravaged by fire

Aceh's six-hectare palm oil plantation area ravaged by fire

Banda Aceh (ANTARA) - The local firefighting squad, Thursday, made sustained attempts to extinguish the fire ravaging six hectares of the palm oil plantation area in South Aceh, Aceh Province, Wednesday, in the midst of the extended period of drought.

The fire-affected plantation area are of the several villagers in Bakongan Sub-district, South Aceh District, but the firefighting team's attempts to control the fire were hindered by difficulties in accessing the road to the disaster-affected area, as only four- or more-wheeled vehicles could ply on it, Aceh Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD) Acting Head Teuku Ahmad Dadek informed ANTARA in Banda Aceh on Thursday.

Consequently, they had to cover a distance of 1.5 kilometers by foot to reach the disaster-stricken area and control the fire. With assistance from local military and police personnel, the firefighters worked to stop the fire from scorching the dry bushes and peatland located in proximity to the fire-affected areas.

Dadek remarked that the fire failed to be brought under control in spite of humongous efforts made in South Aceh District until Thursday afternoon, while the fire that had gutted two hectares of a palm oil plantation owned by a plantation company in East Aceh District had been extinguished.

"The fire spreading across a plantation area in East Aceh District was extinguished on Wednesday afternoon after a fire truck was deployed to the fire-affected area," Dadek noted.

The Aceh Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) had earlier advised the residents of 23 districts and towns across Aceh Province to maintain vigil over bush and forest fires due to the impact of the dry season.

An increasingly heated diplomatic row has broken out in recent months between the European Parliament and Indonesia and Malaysia after the EU's pending restrictions on palm oil-based biofuels.

The Indonesian Embassy in Brussels had held a dialog on the palm oil issue at the European Parliament office on Apr 4 themed, "Palm Oil Free: Facts, Fiction, and Misleading Claims," as part of its efforts at promoting Indonesia's sustainable palm oil.

The dialog was organized to seek wide-ranging views on the palm oil issue in Europe and to propose a unified effort to promote the nation's sustainable palm oil.