Meulaboh, Aceh (ANTARA) - A fire scorched 50 hectares (ha) of peatland area in West Aceh District, Aceh Province.

"We have continued to make attempts to extinguish the fire and prevent it from spreading to a wider area," Mashuri, coordinator of the Operation Control Center of the West Aceh Disaster Mitigation Office (BPBD), stated here on Tuesday.

On Monday evening, the fire razed a 45-ha peatland area located in Johan Pahlawan and West Woyla Sub-district, and on the next day, it extended to a five-ha area located in Alue Peunyareng in Meureubo Sub-district.

In Seuneubok Village in Johan Pahlawan Sub-district, 10 hectares of peatland were destroyed by the blaze, while 35 hectares in the Napai and Blang Cot Ruber villages in West Woyle were razed by the fire.

The local authorities accrued data on the areas gutted by the blaze. They believed the affected area could extend over 50 ha.

Efforts to put out the fire have been hindered by water shortage, as Indonesia is currently experiencing a severe dry spell.

Moreover, accessing the peatland area is difficult owing to no roads to the areas.

Meanwhile, fire had scorched 20 ha of peatland in two villages of Nagan Raya District, Aceh, on July 4, 2019, 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 efforts to douse it could not as yet be undertaken 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.

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Translator: Teuku Iskandar, Fardah
Editor: Azizah Fitriyanti
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