Cianjur, West Java (ANTARA) - The Mount Pogor forest area, spanning 1,500 meters in Malati Village, Naringgul Sub-district, Cianjur District, West Java Province, was destroyed by fire on Monday evening.

Several officers of the Naringgul authorities were quick to reach the location to extinguish the fire after receiving a report on it from local villagers, Adam, an eyewitness, noted here on Tuesday.

"Luckily, the fire did not spread deep into the forest but only razed the perimeter of the forest. I spotted a quite big fire from the Ujung Parakan road where the blaze began," he noted.

Asep Asbo, a local territorial police member, remarked that the fire broke out at block 24 of Mount Pogor, Cikondang Kampong, near Parakan Telu kampong located at the border of a protected forest supervised by the Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA).

"The fire arose from the middle and spread to the other side that is dry. The fire was most likely triggered by thatches that caught fire due to the blazing sun," he stated.

It took two hours for the officers and local villagers to extinguish the fire owing to the difficulty in finding water nearby.

"Today, we and officers of the Naringgul Police Office will investigate the cause of the fire, and in the evening, we will patrol the forest area to prevent any recurrence of the fire," he noted.

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Indonesia is currently reeling from an acute dry spell triggered by the El-Nino natural phenomenon that has led to a water crisis and forest fires in several provinces.

Eight provinces in Indonesia are prone to forest fires, but only six have declared an emergency status for forest fires, Director of Forest Fire Mitigation Raffles B. Panjaitan of the Environmental Affairs and Forestry Ministry stated.

The six provinces are Riau, with the emergency status declared from Feb 19 to Oct 31, or 255 days; West Kalimantan (from Feb 12 to Dec 31, or 323 days); South Sumatra (March 8-Oct 31, or 237 days); Central Kalimantan (May 28-Aug 26, or 91 days); South Kalimantan (June 1-Oct 31, or 153 days); and Jambi (July 23-Oct 20, or 90 days).

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Translator: Ahmad Fikri, Fardah
Editor: Sri Haryati
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