Indonesia: Task force of forest fire prevention extinguishes land fires

Antara 17 Feb 17;

Pekanbaru, Riau (ANTARA News) - A task force of forest fire prevention workers in Riau province has managed to extinguish the land fires which devoured 20 hectares of dry peatlands in Pangkalan Terap village, Kerumutan sub-district, Pelalawan district.

"Firefighting carried out by both teams on the ground and in the air took up to five days," secretary of Mangala Agni of Center for Natural Resources Conservation of Riau province, Ihsan Abdillah told ANTARA in Pekanbaru, Friday.

Manggala Agni is Indonesias Forest Fire Control Brigade formed by the Forestry Ministry.

Abdillah said the joint officers had trouble putting out the fires at the location because of the rough terrain, potentially flammable dry peat, and limited water resources.

Riau province alerted a Bell 412 helicopter capable of transporting 1,200 liters of water for bombing.

"A total of 28,000 liters of water was poured into the location of the fires to help the blackout," he pointed out.

Because of the hard work of the joint team, including Manggala Agni, Regional Disaster Management Agency, Indonesian National Army, and the police, the land fires were extinguished, even though the rain had abated in the last two days.

"Thank God, all fires have been extinguished. Currently, we are focusing on cooling (the land)," he said.

Based on the data released by the Riau Police, the burnt land was owned by a company engaged in the business of oil palm plantations, PT Sumber Sawit Sejahtera in Pelalawan district.

Meanwhile, the fires in Pelalawan district occurred several times in 2017. The land fires had also occurred in Segati village, Langgam sub-district, Pelalawan district last month.

The hotspots were located not far from the Tesso Nilo National Park in Pelalawan district. Three hectares of land at the site were burned, although firefighters eventually extinguished the land fires.(*)

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