Aceh's 20-hectare peatland engulfed by fire amid dry season

Aceh's 20-hectare peatland engulfed by fire amid dry season

Two soldiers attempt to put out the fire ravaging a peatland area in Aceh (ANTARA FOTO/Syifa Yulinnas)

Suka Makmue, Aceh (ANTARA) - Fire scorched 20 hectares of peatland in two villages of Nagan Raya District, Aceh, Thursday afternoon, amid the dry season that has mired fire-extinguishing efforts, Nagan Raya Disaster Mitigation Agency's (BPBD's) Acting Head Hamidi stated.

In a bid to prevent the fire, gutting certain peatland areas in Cot Mue Village in Tadu Raya Sub-district and Kuala Tripa Village in Tripa Makmur Sub-district, from further worsening, BPBD workers had built canal blockings, he revealed.

"We have been able to localize the fire by building canal blockings at several locations, but our endeavor to douse it could not as yet be done completely," Hamidi remarked, adding that the fire-razed areas belong to the local villagers.

In putting out the fire, the BPBD workers collaborated with personnel from the military and police as well as members of the community by installing water pumps at various locations, as fire trucks were unable to reach the disaster zone, he noted.

During this year's dry season, efforts to prevent land and forest fires from recurring are also being made by the authorized institutions in other provinces within Sumatra Island.

Related news: Mily joins efforts to halt forest fires in South Sumatra

In South Sumatra Province, the Indonesian military partook in the efforts by regularly holding public awareness campaigns in several districts.

The campaigns highlighting the importance of taking precautionary measures have been conducted in districts, such as Banyuasin and Ogan Komering Ilir, Chief of the 044/Garuda Dempo Military Resort Command, Major Binsar J. Simanjuntak, recently stated.

According to Simanjuntak, the precautionary measures were also taken by the land and forest fire task force by monitoring susceptible areas. Similar preventive measures were also taken by the Banyuasin district military command.

South Sumatra and several other provinces in Indonesia's Sumatra Island have been frequently challenged and threatened by haze, triggered by land and forest fires, over the past years.

Taking into account this challenging reality, the South Sumatra police have give an ultimatum to the province's plantation companies and farmers to not use slash and burn farming methods during this year's dry season to avoid the recurrences of land and forest fires.

The slash and burn agricultural practice is completely prohibited, as it can trigger the occurrences of land and forest fires that cause a haze crisis.

The smog not only affects the health of the local people but is also a problem for neighboring countries since it potentially threatens the people's health and aviation activities. Related news: Aceh hit by 283 forest fires since 2016
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