Protected forests razed by fire in Riau

Protected forests razed by fire in Riau

04 February 2014

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India — Fire, allegedly started by reckless land clearing activities, has ravaged through two conservation forest areas in Riau.

According to data from the Riau Natural Resource Conservation Center (BBKSDA), the two areas were Bungkuk conservation hill in Kampar regency and the Nature Tourism Park in Dumai city.

“There have been rampant land clearing activities by local residents in Bungkuk conservation hill and their reckless activities were believed to have led to the fire,” Abdul Haris, head of the local Manggala Agni fire fighting team, said as quoted by Antara.

“The fire damaged four hectares of forest, but the flames have been extinguished now,” he added.

Even though it was believed that the fire was deliberately sparked by irresponsible parties, no one was named responsible yet.

Ismail Hasibuan, head of another Manggala Agni forest fire team, said that his team had not managed to put out the fire in the Nature Tourism Park along the Dumai River as of Tuesday afternoon.

“We focused on extinguishing the fire, not searching for the cause,” Ismail said, adding that four hectares of forested land had been damaged.

A rising number of hotspots on peat lands have been detected in Riau even though it is not dry season yet. At least 78 hotspots were found in the province Monday.

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