The seasonal fires affecting the forested slopes of Bali’s sacred Mt. Agung continue to spread.
The Bali Post
estimates that this year’s fires have devastated more than 60 hectares of jungle cover.
The regional head of the Karangasem Disaster Mitigation Agency,
Nyoman Sutirtayasa, said on Wednesday, September 25, 2013, that the combined efforts of his team, armed forces and police working only with scythes, shovels, fire traps and small extinguishers are finding it difficult to control the flames on the challenging hillside terrain.
Current estimates by fire fighters put the number of burning hot spots at more than 600, located some 1,200 meters above sea level.
The fires that started in the western regions of Juntal, Kubu and Karangasem initially spread in a northerly direction. However, on Wednesday, September 25, 2013, the areas affected by flames shifted to the south and began to involve the eastern slopes of Mt. Agung above the villages of Tulamben and Datah. Some of the areas consumed by flames are reported to be moving perilously close to inhabited settlements.
While noting that the fires were spreading, Sutiryasa discounted any possibility that the flames would touch the sacred Pura Pasar Agung Sebudi
. The disaster specialist said the temple is located on the western back of the mountain, saying it will be difficult for the flames to climb to the higher elevations of Mt. Agung that are covered primarily in non-flammable sand and stone.
Fire fighters suspect the fire on Mt. Agung may have been started accidentally by a wild honey gatherers or by farmers burning trash or grassed areas.
Similar fires burnt large areas on Mt. Agung last year.
Meanwhile, the north-facing slopes of the mountainsides east of Pemuteran, northwest Bali, are also ablaze.
editor, driving the Singaraja-Gilamunk road on Friday evening, September 27, 2013, reported large stretches of burning hillside lit the night sky.
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