Wildfire annihilates West Aceh's 1.5-ha peatland

Wildfire annihilates West Aceh's 1.5-ha peatland

Smog shrouded Suak Raya Village, Johan Pahlawan Sub-district, Meulaboh, West Aceh District, on Saturday (Sept 7, 2019), as wildfire razed peatland area. (photo: sepcial/ FA)

Meulaboh, Aceh (ANTARA) - Wildfire scorched through 1.5 hectares (ha) of peatland area in Suak Raya Village, Johan Pahlawan Sub-district, Meulaboh, West Aceh District, Aceh Province.

"The fire was extinguished on Friday morning, but on Saturday morning, the fire resurfaced and spread to a wider area," Mashuri, a local coordinator, remarked on behalf of Dr Mukhtaruddin, head of the West Aceh disaster mitigation office (BPBD), here on Saturday.

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Fire-fighting efforts were hindered by a shortage of water sources in the affected area and challenging terrain impeding vehicular access to the peatland area.

"Currently, our personnel, with the help of police and military officers, are attempting to put out the blaze," he stated.

Mashuri did not speak of the cause of the wildfire, as he was yet directing efforts to extinguish the fire.

Indonesia has been facing the severe dry season induced by El Nino that triggered drought and forest fires in several provinces this year.

The dry spell has cast a pall over 100 districts and cities in Indonesia’s provinces of Aceh, West Java, Central Java, Yogyakarta, East Java, West Nusa Tenggara, and East Nusa Tenggara.

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

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).

The Indonesian Environmental Affairs and Forestry Ministry recorded 2,070 hotspots, with a confidence rate at over 80 percent, during the January-July 2019 period, based on monitoring of the Terra and Aqua Modis satellites.

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