Parts of Mount Rinjani national park in Indonesia's Lombok engulfed by fire

MATARAM (THE JAKARTA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - About 12 hectares of land in Indonesia's Mount Rinjani National Park (TNGR), which is popular with hikers from Singapore, has been engulfed by fire after being set ablaze by villagers clearing land.

As of Monday (Oct 9) night, some areas, particularly those on hilly terrain in the park in Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara, were still on fire.

"The fire was first detected on Telaga hill, inside the TNGR area. It burnt about 12 hectares of forest and land in an area spanning about 1km," TNGR Agency Head Raden Agus Budi Santoso said on Monday.

The agency was quickly on the scene after it received reports about the fire on Telaga hill in Sembalun Lawang village, East Lombok, on Monday afternoon.

At least 27 firefighters were deployed to fight the blaze.

"We extinguished the fire near the village, but were unable to put it out in the steep areas," Agus said, adding that the terrain had hampered their efforts to prevent the fire from spreading.

He said the fire was caused by local residents who were burning land; they were unable to control it and it quickly spread to the nearby forest.

"We're still investigating who did the land burning in the first place," said Agus.