Raging Peat Fire Approaches Jambi Village

JULY 24, 2015

Jakarta. A peat fire raging in Jambi province has reportedly spread and is inching dangerously closer to Gambut Jaya Kumpeh village in Muarojambi district, according to a local official.

Villagers are cooperating with officers from the Farmers Group Fire Brigade (KTPA) to prevent flames from reaching plantations and residential areas, said Gambut Jaya KTPA chairman Basir.

“The fire is getting bigger and moving closer to people’s homes. It is reaching our village. Yet, at the same time, villagers are on guard to prevent flames from reaching their plantation and houses,” Basir said on Friday as quoted by Antaranews.com.

Basir added that both local residents and firefighters have attempted to extinguish the blaze but their efforts have been unsuccessful due to lack of equipment.

“We are unable to stop the fire entirely. Our equipment is very limited. This is a bad situation because we know most people can’t stand the haze,” Basir said.

The Manggala Agni forest fire brigade were en route to the fire's point of origin at the time of writing.

Bestari, head of the Jambi Forestry Agency's forest protection unit, said the team was equipped with the proper equipment to stop the blaze from spreading further.

“One team consists of 15 members. They are on their way to the location at this time. They will be there for three days or even longer, until the fire stops,” Bestari said.

“However, should this team be unsuccessful in extinguishing the fire within three days, we may replace them with another team,” Bestari said.

The fire has destroyed some 200 hectares of land since it erupted earlier this month in the forests located between Jambi and Palembang, South Sulawesi.

Jambi's Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD) chairman Dalmanto said the BPBD along with five district governments within the province were in the process of preparing a regulation on handling peat fires that will later be proposed to the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB).

“We need help from the central government. We need them to provide equipment for operations such as water bombing and weather modification,” Dalmanto said.