Magelang, Central Java (ANTARA) - A blaze spread across a forest area on Mount Andong in Temu, Jogoyasan Village, Ngablak Sub-district, Magelang, Central Java, on Sunday afternoon, as Indonesia reels from prolonged drought induced by the El Nino natural phenomenon.
The cause of the fire is yet unknown, Edy Susanto, head of the Magelang District Disaster Mitigation Office (BPBD), stated here on Sunday.
A ranger notified the Magelang BPBD about the fire on Sunday at 5:30 p.m. local time, he remarked.
A joint team comprising rangers, firefighters, and volunteers, was deployed to extinguish the blaze immediately. The team managed to put out a fire on the middle slope but was yet struggling to extinguish another fire spot located on a steep slope.
A partition was built to prevent the spread of fire to a wider area. However, a strong wind blew in the opposite direction, and the fire spread to the top of the mountain.
An El Nino-induced severe dry spell has cast a pall over 100 districts and cities in Indonesia's provinces of Aceh, West Java, Central Java, Yogyakarta, East Java, West Nusa Tenggara, and East Nusa Tenggara.
Most parts of Java, Bali, and Nusa Tenggara have yet to receive rain for nearly 60 days. The extreme dry season has impacted 102,746 hectares (ha) of agricultural area and ruined 9,358 ha.
A total of 55 district and municipal administrations in the seven provinces have declared a state of emergency in their regions over drought.
Furthermore, the prolonged drought has triggered forest fires in several provinces, such as Riau, Jambi, South Sumatra, West Kalimantan, Central Kalimantan, and South Kalimantan.
On Java Island, wildfires have also reportedly affected forest areas on the slopes of several mountainous areas akin to what had transpired last year.
Mount Merbabu, Mount Sumbing, Mount Slamet, and Mount Sindoro in Central Java Province; Mount Argopuro and Mount Sadran in East Java Province; Mount Ciremai in West Java Province; and Mount Lawu located on the border of the provinces of Central and East Java were among those hit by wildfires in 2018.
Source: ANTARA News