Climbers attempting to scale Bali’s Mount Agung subject to fine as long as volcano remains on ‘standby’ status: official

A plume of ash is released as Mount Agung volcano erupts, seen from the Kubu subdistrict in Karangasem Regency on Indonesia’s resort island of Bali on May 31, 2019. Photo: Made Alit Suantara / AFP
A plume of ash is released as Mount Agung volcano erupts, seen from the Kubu subdistrict in Karangasem Regency on Indonesia’s resort island of Bali on May 31, 2019. Photo: Made Alit Suantara / AFP

A traditional village, or desa adat, located on the slopes of Bali’s Mount Agung will issue a fine of IDR1 million (US$71) for anyone attempting to climb Mount Agung, as part of an effort to deter tourists for as long as the volcano remains on “standby” status.

Though Mount Agung is relatively calmer these days, Indonesia’s Volcanology and Geological Disaster Mitigation Center (PVMBG) still maintains an alert level three, or “standby” status, for the volcano, as well as an exclusion zone of 4 kilometers in radius from its crater.

The most recent measure to ban hiking at Mount Agung was taken by officials from Pucang, a traditional village located in Kubu sub-district of Karangasem regency. According to Nyoman Suratika, a head official in Kubu, the sanction was authorized through a traditional agreement.

“This is the closest village [to Mount Agung], only about 3 kilometers from the slopes of the volcano,” Suratika said, as quoted by Kumparan. 

“The decision to do so is based on the consideration of the village [officials] and the prohibition issued by BMKG (Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency). [Mount Agung] is still active and at ‘standby’ status, but all this time tourists are still climbing anyway,” Suratika continued. 

Mount Agung, the highest mountain on Bali, has repeatedly erupted since November 2017. The ban on hiking went into effect since then, though many climbers seemed to have disregarded it completely. 

In February of this year, for example, a raw footage showed three foreign nationals racing back down the slope after attempting to scale the active volcano as it started to erupt. 

Another case in April incited a rebuke from the late Sutopo Purwo Nugroho of Indonesia’s National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB), after a pair of reckless foreigners shared their video hanging out at the edge of the volcano’s crater.


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