Fire Razes Peatland in Riau

 Fire Razes Peatland in Riau

11 February 2008

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Indonesia — A flash fire razed some 100 hectares of peatland in Kuala Mulia, Indragiri Hulu on Friday raising suspicion it was intentionally burned to be converted into a palm oil plantation.

The peatland was on a forest concession area belonging to PT Betuah Aneka Yasa which denied setting the fire.

Environmentalist Heriansyah said he and several activists who visited the area Friday were suspicious the peatland was intentionally burned because the fire stemmed from several points surrounding the area.

According to witnesses, the fire spread rapidly engulfing all vegitation. Locals remain on guard to prevent the fire from spreading to the nearby Kuala Mulia village.

Village secretary Ibrahim expressed deep concern over the local police’s arrest of several villagers who were suspected of starting the fire.

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