Fri, 19 Aug 1994

Fire destroys Lampung forest

BANDAR LAMPUNG, Lampung: Fire razed some 2,000 hectares of forest in the Mesuji district in North Lampung this week.

A.S.M. Panjaitan, the Lampung Forestry Chief, said the fire has caused financial losses exceeding Rp 4 billion ($1.9 million).

Some 200 forest rangers have been sent to the area to contain the fire, Panjaitan said.

He said that the authorities had thought that the fire had been extinguished on Monday. "But the severe dry spell, the extreme heat and the strong wind combined to revive the flames and the fire has since been spreading to a wider area."

He added that the effort had been hampered by the lack of water in the area because most of the rivers have already dried up.

The fire is spreading in three different localities in Mesuji -- in Hanakau, Muara Dua and Mesuji, he said. The forest in the three areas total about 28,000 hectares. (emb)