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Jakarta Post

Wildfire destroys 60-ha of peatland and forests

  • Rizal Harahap

    The Jakarta Post

Pekanbaru   /   Wed, April 10 2013   /  10:26 am

A haze has blanketed Bukit Kembar, Bengkalis, Riau, as around 60 hectares of a total of 300 hectares of peatland in the area have been destroyed by fire in the last few days.

Bengkalis Disaster Mitigation and Fire Agency (BPBD-Damkar) acting chief Jaafar Arief has blamed the wildfire on land clearing of the unattended peatland, which has been the center of a dispute between local residents and an agriculture company.

“People usually clear and burn peatlands for agricultural purposes and development needs. The land clearing has caused fires and uncontrolled haze,” said Jaafar on Tuesday.

“But we still have no idea who did this because in this kind of situation, nobody wants to confess and they blame each other instead. I keep pleading with the people who live here and with the agribusiness not to burn the peatlands because it is against the law,” he added. ...