Indonesia: Rain extinguishes Meranti Islands forest fire

Rizal Harahap The Jakarta Post 16 Oct 16;

After burning for almost a week, a forest fire on hectares of peatland was distinguished after rains throughout Saturday night poured over the Rangsang Timur district in Meranti Islands, Riau.

“It was raining cats and dogs last night. As of this noon, the burning peatland has not emitted haze anymore, it’s clear,” said Meranti Islands Disaster Management Agency head Edy Afrizal on Sunday.

“On Sunday morning, the Meteorology, Climatology and Geography Agency said there was one hotspot in Meranti Islands, but it was extinguished as well,” he said.

However, Edy said, he and his team were on standby at the location to anticipate fires. “The wind blows hard, we are preparing for the possibility of some fire underneath,” he said, adding that without rains, forest fires in the region would be difficult to extinguish.

“The biggest problem is lack of water supply. It is true that Rangsang Island is surrounded by sea, but it is difficult to pump sea water when it recedes. I can be a kilometer from the shore,” he said.

When the sea rises at night, they can pump the water, he said.

His office had estimated that as of Friday, the burned fields, including local farmers' rubber and coconut plantations, reached about 50 hectares. (evi)

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