Bengkalis, Riau (ANTARA) - The Bengkalis Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD) workers and firefighters successfully doused fires that spread across four hectares of land in Bathin Solapan Sub-district, Bengkalis District, Riau Province.

"Thank God, we have been able to extinguish the bush and forest fires that spread in the villages of Petani and Air Kulim of Bathin Solapan Sub-district," Head of the Bengkalis Mitigation Agency Tajul Mudaris stated here on Wednesday.

However, identity of the owner of the two-hectare plot of vacant land on Siak Road of Petani Village, recently gutted by the fire, had yet to be established, while two other hectares of land in Air Kulim Village were palm plantation areas belonging to a villager, he revealed.

Mudaris urged the local people to desist from engaging in the agricultural practice of slash and burn, as the people, at large, would bear the brunt of the bush and forest fires.

The Pekanbaru Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) had recently revealed that hotspots, indicative of possible occurrences of bush and forest fires, had begun surfacing in several districts of Riau Province.

On June 24, 2019, for instance, the agency had detected five hotspots that spread in the districts of Bengkalis, Siak, Rokan Hilir, and Pelalawan. As part of the preventive measures, the Riau Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD) has begun activating its land and forest fire control task force following the imposition of an emergency response status, effective from February 19 to October 31, 2019.

During the first semester of 2019, bush and forest fires had ravaged over three thousand hectares of land in Riau, Head of the province's BPBD, Edwar Sanger, stated. Related news: Riau Fire Free Village program covers 600,000 hectares
Related news: Riau's land, forest fires covered 3,147 hectares in Jan-June 2019
Related news: Slash-and-burn method contributes to hotspots in Riau: Official

Translator: Alfisnardo, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Sri Haryati
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