Indonesia: Forest Fires Increase During Idul Fitri

Ratri M. Siniwi Jakarta Globe 8 Jul 16;

Jakarta. A number of forest fire broke out in Riau, Sumatra, during the Idul Fitri holidays on Wednesday (06/07) and are still being put out on Friday (08/07) by forest authorities.

The National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) and Riau governor office ordered the Integrated Forest Fire Task Force in Riau to continue their efforts in putting out fires, in order for the hotspots to stop spreading like it did last year.

Based on the observations by the Indonesian National Institute of Aeronautics and Space (Lapan), their satellites spotted 49 hotspots in Sumatra with a confidence level of more than 50 percent and nine hotspots in Riau with a confidence level of more than 70 percent on Wednesday.

However according to BNPB, the number of hotspots with a confidence level of more than 70 percent increased on Friday, listing 19 in Riau, 41 in Sumatra, 10 in South Sulawesi and two in Central Kalimantan.

Integrated Forest Fire Task Force officers are still working their way to extinguish the fires from both ground and air assistance, with the collaborated efforts by the Provincial Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD), National Military, National Police, Manggala Agni Forest Fire Brigade and various volunteers.

Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, BNPB head of data information and public relations, said that the fires are generally inaccessible and it will take time for ground officers to reach the scene.

He also stated that BNPB has predicted the forest fires to break out during Idul Fitri, as there is often an increase of forest fires during long holidays.

Despite the breakout, no reports of disturbed wildlife or local residents in the area have been made.

“There has been no reports of any impacts on the community due to its location, and the air pollution standard index still indicate a healthy level,” Sutopo said on Friday.

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