Magetan, East Java (ANTARA) - The Magetan district authorities deployed 445 personnel to extinguish wildfires which gutted forest area located on the slope of Mount Lawu, Magetan District, East Java Province.

The 445 personnel included fire fighters, police and military officers, volunteers and officers of the Magetan disaster mitigation office (BPBD) as well as a state-owned forestry company of Lawu, Ferry Yoga Saputra, an official of the Magetan BPBD, said here on Saturday.

"Until now, the fires are still raging. Strong wind and difficult terrain because the fire location is on a very steep slope area, have hampered efforts put out the blaze. Moreover,, the efforts to extinguish the fire is carried out manually," he said.

The personnel were grouped in four teams handling several fire spots from morning until afternoon.

"In the evening, the operation is stopped because it's dark, but the officers keep monitoring the disaster," he remarked.

The wildfires began on Friday and spread to wider area located in three villages due to strong wind.

The location of the fires were far from people settlement area, he said.

Related news: Strong wind impedes firefighting efforts on Mt Arjuno, Mt Welirang

In the meantime, wildfires lately razed several mountainous areas on Java Island, including Mount Cikuray, Mount Ringgit, Mounth Argopuro, Mount Sumbing, Mount Semeru, Mount Arjuno, and Mount Welirang.

Information of the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) showed that the authorities managed to put out wildfires on Mount Malabar, Mount Merapi, and Mount Andong.

Strong wind played spoilsport in the aerial firefighting efforts to put out wildfires on the slopes of Mount Arjuno and Mount Welirang in East Java Province on Monday (Oct 21).

"A turbulence caused the MI-8 helicopter to shake owing to which it later had to return to its base at the Abdul Rahman Saleh Air Force Base in Malang, East Java," Agus Wibowo, spokesman of BNPB, noted in a statement.

The turbulence was caused by strong wind that could endanger the safety of the helicopter deployed to conduct water bombing on the wildfires at identified spots, notably in the Maha Pena, Watu Bagong, and Curah Striti areas.

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Translator: Louis RS, Fardah
Editor: Sri Haryati
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