Some 270 hectares of land in Indragiri Hilir regency, Riau province, were burned on Sunday, spreading haze to its surrounding areas, according to Indragiri Hilir Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Christian Rony Putra.
The area comprised peatlands and mineral soil that had mostly been used by residents as oil palm and rubber plantations. Some parts of the forest’s scrubland had been burnt as well.
According to Rony, 200 joint personnel from the Indonesian Military (TNI), the National Police, the Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD) as well as the Manggala Agni Fire Brigade and local communities were deployed to put out the fire.
However, the process was hindered by difficulties in reaching water sources as well as strong winds.
To overcome this issue, Rony said, the team dug a small canal to find a water source.
“We thank the community for helping us put out the fire and giving us helpful information on which dangerous areas we have to avoid,” Rony said on Sunday.
Meanwhile, the resulting haze has affected Pelalawan regency, which is located next to Indragiri Hilir, and reduced visibility in the area to 300 meters in the morning.