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BerichtOnderwerp: Peatland fires begin to approach residential areas    za 22 aug 2015 - 5:13

The Jakarta Post, Sat, August 22 2015

Fires that have burned hundreds of hectares of peatland in East Tanjung jabung regency, Jambi, are now approaching residential areas.

East Tanjung jabung Forestry and Plantation Office head Adil Aritonang said the fires had engulfed 200 hectares in Rawasari village, Berbak district, in Simpang Kiri village, Mendahara Ulu district 140 hectares had been burned, as well as 40 hectares in Catur Rahayu village in Dendang district.

“The fires are not too intense, but peatland fires have rekindled and are likely to spark fires,” said Adil on Friday.

He said his office was coordinating with relevant agencies, including the military, police and private sector bodies, to douse the fires.

“We also urge residents not to clear land by using slash-and-burn methods,” said Adil.

Mendahara Ulu district chief Hendri said the fire in Simpang Kiri subdistrict had almost reached a settlement.

He added that his office, assisted by Manggala Agni firefighters, the district fire department and the East Tanjung jabung Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD), had been trying to extinguish the fire in Pematang Rahim village for the past week.

“We are focusing on extinguishing the fire before it reaches human settlements,” he said.

The lack of rain had caused the fire to quickly spread to other areas. Adil said, and his office was flat out trying to extinguish the flaring fires.

Bukit Tempurung Manggala Agni forest fire-fighter team leader Del Rico said fires could not be fully brought under control because of a water shortage at the fire location. On Friday, six fires were recorded in Pematang Rahim village.

Thirteen Manggala Agni personnel, alongside the district fire department, local BPBD and the private sector are working together to extinguish the fire in the village.

“The Jambi provincial administration has yet to provide assistance,” said Adil.

Mendahara Ulu Police chief First Insp. Arief Nazaruddin said police had also deployed personnel to help douse the fire, adding that the police had yet to ascertain the cause of the fire.

“We have yet to determine where the fire came from. We are currently focusing on fire-fighting because the fire is now approaching human settlements,” said Arief.

Separately, the Jambi Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysical Agency (BMKG) announced that 299 hotspots were detected on Friday.

“Satellite images showed 299 hotspots have been detected in Jambi,” said Jambi BMKG Data and Information section head Kurnia Ningsih.

The highest number of hotspots have been detected in Muaro Jambi regency with 132 hotspots, followed by East Tanjung jabung (78), West Tanjung jabung (34), Batanghar (14), Sarolangun (12), Tebo (11), Merangin (nine), Bungo (seven) and Kerinci and Jambi city with one each.

“The number of hotspots today has risen significantly compared with the total 107 two days earlier,” said Kurnia.

Jambi Deputy Mayor Abdullah Sani said the Air Pollution Standard Index in Jambi city had reached 40 percent.

Despite still being categorized as safe, his office was concerned about the number of patients suffering from acute respiratory tract infections (ISPA) and other illnesses.

“We advise residents to wear masks when carrying out outdoor activities,” said Sani.

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