Indonesia — A fire has gutted around 20 hectares of protected forest in Bukit Tiban, Batuaji, Batam, Riau Islands Province.
“The fire occurs because of lack of supervision,” Deputy Mayor of Batam Rudi said here on Wednesday after visiting the location of forest fire.
The Batam protected forest covering hundreds of hectares are supervised by a forest protection team only.
The deputy mayor said Batam should have forest rangers to help preserve the forest.
“We don`t have forest rangers,” Rudi said.
The local community`s awareness of forest preservation is also low, according to him.
The local government would conduct a tree replanting program in the burned forest location, he said.
“We will make coordination with the local offices of marine affairs, agriculture, fisheries and forestry of Batam,” he said.
Batam has only 25 officers of forest supervision, according to Burkan, the head of the local forest supervision and protection section.
To protect the whole forest in Batam, more officers are very much needed, he said.
The forest fire occurred on Tuesday (Sept 6) from 11.30 am local time to 4 pm, Jabhari, the head of RW 01 neighborhood of Kibing, said.
However, he did not know what had caused the forest fire.
“May be because of cigarette butts, which was thrown by accident,” he said.
Meanwhile, in Pagaralam, South Sumatra Province, a fire razed tens of hectares of forest area at Atungbungsu, Dempo Selatan sub district.
Several hectares of coffee and oil palm plantations Atungbungsu were also gutted by fire, Yusman, the head of the local disaster mitigation office, said on Tuesday.
The fire has spread to wider area approaching a human resettlement area. “Around 30 hectares of forest and plantation areas at Mingkik and Nanding villages, Atungbungsu, Dempo Selatan, were gutted by fire,” Yusman said.
Forest and plantation areas at Atungbungsu have been dried and prone to fire because there has been no rainfalls since three months ago.