Kampar, Riau (ANTARA) - Riau Police has arrested a man identified by his initial MH for allegedly ignited a fire in a peatland area, when he opened a two-hectare land for chili farming in Parit Baru Village, Kampar District of Riau Province.

"The suspect admitted that he want to open a chili farm. He slashed and burned bushes in the area," Tambang Sub-district Police Chief First Police Inspector Jurfredi said here on Sunday.

However, his action has caused the fire to spread out of control and engulfed a wider peatland area.

The 22-year old suspect was arrested on Wednesday (July 10) at around 2 p.m. local time at the fire site.

"The suspect opened a two-hectare land by burning it with lighter. He was planned to open a chili farm," Jurfredi said.

Dry peatland is flammable and once it was burnt, fire can easily spread under ground and create black smoke, he said.

Related news: Pekanbaru shrouded in haze from forest fire

"As the fire went wild, the suspect tried to put it out, but it was a vain attempt," Jurfredi added.

The suspect was arrested at Tambang Police precinct in Kampar, and charged with article 108 of law no 39/2014 on forest preservation, as amended by article 187 of the Criminal Code on the ban to burn land and forest.

The forest fire brigade of the Environmental and Forestry Ministry (Manggala Agni) continued its efforts to extinguish the fire.

"Fire has been detected below the peatland surface, fully conflagrating the bushes. This condition has made it difficult for the team to put out the fire," Edwin Putra, head of Manggala Agni for Pekanbaru region, revealed here on Friday.

Putra confirmed that the team had managed to contain the fire and will continue to work towards extinguishing it.

Since January 2019, the Riau Police has handled 17 cases related to land and forest fires in the region.

Related news: Manggala Agni continues fire-fighting efforts in Kampar peatland

Related news: Environment ministry intensifies land and forest fire control

Translator: FB Anggoro, Sri Haryati
Editor: Fardah Assegaf
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