Mataram, W Nusa Tenggara, (Antara Sumbar) -Amid the long dry season, wildfires have scorched some 106 hectares (ha) of land in Mount Rinjani during the past month, Head of Rinjani Sembalun National Parks Zainudin noted here on Thursday (Sept 14).
"Due to the extreme heat, fires burnt mostly bushes and reeds. However, we suspect the blazes occurred due to the cigarette stubs thrown by irresponsible hikers," he stated.
Earlier on Aug 21, wildfires had destroyed some 91 ha of land at the Sembalun entrance, and two days later, the blaze continued to rage at a hiking post.
Although the rangers have stamped out the fires, they continued to burn in Mount Rinjani at 10:30 a.m. local time, Wednesday.
"According to a report from the East Rinjani Forest Police, some hotspots were seen on the volcano," Head of the West Nusa Tenggara Disaster Mitigation Agency Muhammad Rum remarked in Mataram, Thursday (Sept 14).
The agency suspects that the fires first arose on the side of the highway near the Mount Rinjani national park.
"Following the report, we have contacted the fire brigade stationed at the Sembalun forest to stamp out the blaze that had already destroyed two ha of land," he noted.
Hence, in order to prevent fires, the rangers have tightened supervision in Mount Rinjani while calling the visitors to not throw their cigarette butts in the national park.
Beside Mount Rinjani, the Garut Disaster Mitigation Agency in West Java Province also reported that fires had raged at Mount Cikurai, Wednesday.
"Due to the blaze, two ha of land was destroyed, but no victims were reported," Dadi Djakaria, the agency's head, said, Thursday (Sept 14).
According to Djakaria, fires were detected at the hiking trail at 12:30 p.m. local time on Wednesday.
Due to the long dry season and extreme heat, the blaze could spread easily. Hence, a joint task force team was sent to manually extinguish the fires.
Djakaria further called on all rangers to ban all bonfire activities on the mountain. (*)
Editor: Vicha Faradika