Indonesia: MI-8 helicopter deployed in Riau to put out wildfires

Antara 22 Aug 16;

Pekanbaru (ANTARA News) - The National Disaster Mitigation Agency has deployed an MI-8 helicopter in Riau Province to help douse forest, peatland, and plantation fires.

"One MI-8 helicopter landed (in the Roesmin Nurjadin airport in Pekanbaru) yesterday afternoon. Today, we hold a meeting with the forest fire task force to discuss the deployment of the helicopter," Head of the Riau Disaster Mitigation Office Edwar Sanger noted here, Monday.

With this new deployment, the Riau task force currently has three MI-8 helicopters, one MI-171, and two air tractors to fight wildfires.

Several areas have been razed by wildfires in the Riau districts of Rokan Hilir, Dumai, Bengkalis, Pelalawan, and Rokan Hulu.

"With the inclusion of an additional helicopter, we hope to maximally curb the wildfires, while undertaking preventive measures as well," he added.

Riau police name 85 suspects over wildfire cases
Antara 22 Aug 16;

Pekanbaru (ANTARA News) - The Riau Police have named 85 suspects over wildfires during the January-August 2016 period.

The cases are being handled by 11 resort police stations across Riau, Adjunct Senior Commissioner Guntur Aryo Tejo, spokesman of the Riau Police, remarked here, Monday.

The suspects comprise land owners or farmers who used slash and burn methods to clear land for farming or plantation, the policeman noted, adding that no plantation company was involved in the wildfires.

The Riau provincial authorities have extended the emergency status for wildfires from March to November 2016 to optimize the efforts to control the fires.

As the result, Riau, which had been shrouded by haze every year for the past 18 years, is now almost free from it.

Head of the Riau Disaster Mitigation Office Edwar Sanger, however, reported that from January to August 2016, a total of 1,559.9 hectares of forest, peatland, and plantation areas had been razed by fires across the province.

Last Saturday, Indonesias National Institute of Aeronautics and Space reported that the number of hotspots across Sumatra Island had reached 74, seven more than the 67 reported a day earlier.

Of the 74 hotspots, 34 were found in Riau, 15 in South Sumatra, nine in North Sumatra, six in Bangka Belitung, five in West Sumatra, four in Lampung, and one in Aceh.

Riau Police name 85 suspects in land-clearing cases
The Jakarta Post 22 Aug 16;

The Riau Police have named 85 suspects for allegedly clearing land by burning, which resulted in haze problems from January through August, a senior police officer has said.

“The 85 suspects are being handled by 11 police precincts under the Riau Police,” Riau Police spokesman Adj. Sr. Comr. Guntur Aryo Tejo said as quoted by Antara news agency in Pekanbaru on Monday.

Guntur said the suspects, who were linked to land-clearing cases on privately owned land, were associated with 67 police reports. Currently, the police have submitted most of the dossiers to the prosecutor’s office for further legal proceedings.

The Riau administration raised the alert status for forest and land fires in the province in March. The status is expected to remain in place until November in anticipation of prolonged haze woes.

Riau Disaster Mitigation Agency head Edwar Sanger said fires had engulfed more than 1,559.9 hectares across the province between January and August. (dmr)

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