Forest fires have been popping up left and right in Bali as the dry season persists, the latest on the island’s Mount Abang in Bangli Regency.
The flames in a protected forest area above Trunyan Village was reportedly put out on Sunday, but land further out is still smoking, according to Bangli Regional Police.
“The developments related to the fire above Banjar Cemara Landung, Trunyan Village, Kintamani is that the fire has disappeared. However, smoke still billows out on the western slopes,” Bangli Police spokesman Sulhadi confirmed with Detik on Sunday.
Sulhadi added that the burn area was about two hectares. There were several obstacles for putting the fire out, because of challenging terrain and limited access.
“Police, military, firefighters, and forest protection management service, together with the community are still on standby, given that they cannot get to the location of the smoke source because the terrain is difficult to reach, also the altitude of the location, the ravine, and the wind blows quite strongly,” Sulhadi explained.
The distance from the smoke to residential areas is just enough, says Sulhadi, but local residents and officers from the cooperative firefighting effort remain vigilant.
Even though the fire on the volcano’s slopes is extinguished, local residents are continuing to dig a ditch in anticipation of future fires. The ditch would help prevent flames from spreading to local settlements.
“Police, military, firefighters, and forest protection management along with the community and other relevant agencies still make ditches around the forest area so the fire does not spread to the resident’s villages, about a distance of four kilometers,” Sulhadi said.
The cause of the fire has not yet been determined, but it’s been able to spread so quickly because of the dry heat.
“Approximately two hectares (the fire zone), the exact cause is not yet known, but the area in the vegetation, along with the wind is quite dry.
Following fires on the slopes of Mount Batur and Mount Agung, this makes the third slope-side volcano forest fire reported in recent weeks.