Situbondo, East Java (ANTARA) - A wildfire blazing through the protected forest area on the slope of Mount Argopuro since Saturday (Oct 19) has resulted in access being closed to climbers.

The hiking trail to the top of Mount Argopuro was temporarily closed from an entry located in Baderan Village, Sumbermalang Sub-district, and from Probolinggo, Budi Narwanto, head of the Situbondo Disaster Mitigation Office (BPBD), revealed here on Monday.

The mountain was closed indefinitely for climbers as of Sunday (Oct 20), he stated. The decision was taken after the local BPBD discussed the issue of wildfire with the local Natural Resources Conservation Office (BKSDA) and Forpimka (local authorities) of Sumbermalang, he stated.

The wildfire has been conflagrating in the Petak 6A protected forest in Alas Tengah Village, Sumbermalang Sub-district, since Saturday, he pointed out.

Strong wind, inhospitable terrain, and extensive dried twigs have deterred efforts to put out the blaze.

"The location of the wildfire, razing over the last three days, is far from the human settlement," he stated.

In the meantime, fires lately spread through several mountainous areas on Java Island during the current prolonged drought induced by the El Nino natural phenomenon.

Very strong wind blowing over Lumajang District, East Java, marred efforts to extinguish forest fires on the slope of Mount Semeru.

"Officers continue to make efforts to put out the fire in Bantengan and Poo Doyong blocks in Ranupani Resort at the Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park," Wawan Hadi Siswoyo, an official of the Lumayang disaster mitigation office (BPBD), stated on Sunday.

A joint team comprising the national park's officers as well as police and military personnel along with the local BPBD officers were deployed to fight the wildfire.

The blaze razed an area measuring 115 hectares on Mount Semeru's slope. A water source is located some four kilometers from the fire.
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Translator: Masuki , Novi, Fardah
Editor: Suharto
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