Saturday, 20 Safar 1441 / 19 October 2019

Saturday, 20 Safar 1441 / 19 October 2019

Land fires in Riau arose far from settlement: BRG

Ahad 24 Feb 2019 02:30 WIB

Red: Reiny Dwinanda

Land and forest fires in Riau Province. (File photo)

Land and forest fires in Riau Province. (File photo)

Foto: Antara/Rony Muharrman
More than half of Riau Province is peatland area.

REPUBLIKA.CO.ID, PEKANBARU -- The land and forest fire in Riau Province occurred in areas far from the settlement and farmers' plantation, according to the Peatland Restoration Agency (BRG). The agency's peatland restoration program, conducted since 2016 in the province, has involved the local government and public.

"Peatland areas engulfed by the fire are those on which rewetting was yet to be carried out," BRG Chief Nazir Foead told Antara here on Saturday.

Foead affirmed that rewetting of peat soil was prioritized in locations close to settlements and plantations, as they have limited sources to cover all peatland regions.

"Usually, people choose peatland areas that are close to settlement and plantation areas. Hence, their houses, schools, and plantations would remain safe in case fire engulfed the peatland area," he explained.

According to data of Riau University, the province has 4.8 million hectares of peatland area, or some 51.06 percent of Riau's total area.

"We know that more than half of Riau Province is peatland area. Peatland clearing has occurred for years, and the damage was quite extensive. A long time would be needed to restore the land," he remarked.

In 2019, fire engulfed more than 850 hectares of land in Riau. The largest fire was detected in Rupat Island of Bengkalis District, and efforts to extinguish the fire are still ongoing.

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