As the fires at the Suwung TPA landfill and Mandung TPA landfill shoulder on, tourists have been capturing more shocking footage of fires around the island of Bali.
The tourist resort has just declared a 14-day emergency status to tackle the impacts of drought. Wildfires are spreading around the slopes of Mount Agung and Mount Batur.
Both Bangli Regency and Karangsaem Regency have been battling wildfires since mid-September. Footage shared by tourist and local citizen journalists online on Wednesday shows fires edging ever closer to the summit of Mount Agung.
In a post on the popular Facebook group for Bali lovers, Bali Bogans, one tourist shared photos of the flames in the dark, asking whether it was a volcanic eruption or flames.
Bali lovers quickly jumped to answer the question, thankfully Mount Agung remains dormant after its last eruption in 2019 which hugely impacted local communities and tourists due to flight cancellations and changes at Bali’s only international airport.
The fire in question could be seen from the laid-back resort village of Amed. The beach retreat is a popular spot for scuba diving, free diving, and yoga.
The area is especially popular with tourists from Europe and is home to plenty of boutique hotels and resorts that offer incredible views of the ocean and Mount Agung.
Firefighters and officers from the Karangasem Regional Disaster Agency have been working around the clock to battle the wildfires for weeks.
With officers still on the ground day and night, all available resources are being sent to the slopes of Mount Agung and areas around Kintamani to help ensure the fires stay away from residential areas.
However, this is no easy task. The rugged terrain and high water shortages are making life very difficult for emergency crews.
Kebakaran Gunung agung♬ suara asli – ayiff hja gan – ايف حظ غاع
Since the fires are spreading across the regency, major, non-emergency updates on the impact of the wildfires are being made on a week-by-week basis.
The Chief Executive of the Karangasem Regional Disaster Chief Executive Ida Bagus Ketut Arimbawa, confirmed that as of last weekend, there was major wildlife raging through five locations in Karangasem Regency.
Over the last three weeks over 730 hectares of forest and bush have been scorched by wildfires in the areas.
Extinguishing one fire that reached Bhuana Giri Village, which is close to Tirta Gangga and just 20 minutes from the world-famous Gates of Heaven Temple (Pura Penataran Agung Lempuyang), required 27,000 liters of water.
Fires have swept through bamboo plantations, elephant grass plantations, the scrubland on the slopes of the mountains, and residential areas too.
The wildfires have been sparked by natural causes, cigarette butts, and localized trash fires that have gotten out of control.
The public, tourists included, are being urged to be especially mindful about putting out cigarettes properly, ashing them into a safe container, as well as not lighting bonfires, being careful with outdoor candles, and limiting the burning of waste.
The whole island of Bali has just been issued a 14-day drought emergency status. Tourists visiting the worst affected areas may be asked by their hosts to be extra mindful of their water consumption.
The Meteorology Climatology and Geophysics Agency has issued weather warnings for forests and landfills across Indonesia.
While islands like Sumatra, Kalimantan, and Papua are being warned about heavy rains, high winds, and potential flooding, climatologists have shared that initial predictions show that drought will prevail in Bali until January-March 2024.
Although frightening, the wildfires in East Bali are not posing an immediate threat to tourists.
No evacuation orders have been issued, and the Acting Governor of Bali, Sang Made Mahendra Jaya, is making more resources available for emergency crews.
Over the coming weeks, tourists planning their visits to the resorts, villages, and destinations around Mount Agung and Mount Batur must be prepared to see wildfires on the slopes and ridge lines.
In some circumstances, there may be localized road closures or diversions, so tourists are encouraged to leave extra time during day trips.
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