Thick Smoke Spreads as an Oil Plantation Burned in West Kalimantan

Although there are no houses near the burning plantation, the thick smoke reached the neighborhoods located quite far away, even to the capital of Sambas Regency

ACTNews, SAMBAS – The land and forest fires (karhutla) is still spreading in Kalimantan. Recently, the fire burned an oil palm plantation in Temajuk, Paloh Subdistrict, Sambas Regency, West Kalimantan. From Friday (9/13) to Sunday (9/15), the fire has not been able to be extinguished.

 

The total area of the burned plantation is still unclear. However, Nikita Darmala from Masyarakat Relawan Indonesia (MRI) West Kalimantan said that the impact of the fire was massive, as the people living near the burned plantation are also affected by the smog.

"There are no houses around the plantation, so there’s no building that was set on fire. But the smoke haze spread to the neighborhoods located quite far from the location. Even we who live in Sambas are also affected by the intense smog, let alone those who live nearby," Nikita stated, Sunday (9/15).

A number of residents, said Nikita, began to have difficulties to breathe and see clearly due to the smoke. The remote location makes it even more difficult to extinguish the fire. Nikita said that the burned plantation is located on the Indonesia-Malaysia border.

"The location is quite far, and the roads are inadequate. People usually go through the area when they need to go through the Indonesia-Malaysia border," added Nikita.

 

For now, MRI-ACT West Kalimantan is coordinating to carry out efforts to mitigate the land and forest fires, including by trying to coordinate with other agencies. The team is also planning to collaborate with West Kalimantan Regional Disaster Mitigation Board (BPBD) to extinguish the fire.


                                             Graphic source: Kumparan/BMKG Station Supadio Pontianak

Until now, according to Indonesian Bureau of Meteorology Climatology and Geophysics (BMKG), as of September 15, 2019, at 7 a.m., the total number of hotspots in Sambas Regency itself have reached 17 points while in West Kalimantan there are 1,121 total hotspots recorded. []