Severianus Endi The Jakarta Post 15 Jan 17;
A climatology station in Mempawah, West Kalimantan, has predicted high land and forest fire potential in the province as its climate analysis showed a decline in rainfall, especially in the western and northern coastal areas, in early January.
The lower rainfall was followed by a decline in humidity due to the disappearance of water vapor layers above the land surface. This situation can increase the potential for land and forest fires.
Mempawah Climatology Station head Wandayantolis said less rain, followed by a decline in humidity, had led to higher intensity sunlight reaching the land surface.
“It is predicted that the rainfall decline will continue. In the middle of January, the 10-day rainfall rate will be only around 21 to 100 millimeters, or in the low-to-middle category,” Wandayantolis said on Friday.
He said the higher potential for fires in plantations, forests and settlement areas must be anticipated because high temperatures and low humidity would make it easier for fires to spread.
The Supadio Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) in Pontianak said United States’ National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) satellites detected seven hotspots in West Kalimantan on Jan. 12. They were located in four regencies and municipalities across the province, namely Pontianak city and Kubu Raya, Mempawah and Sintang regencies.
The West Kalimantan Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD) said 1,575 hotspots were recorded in 2016, down from 2,721 in the previous year. The agency’s emergency division head Bosman Hutahaean revealed that 342 were detected in Sanggau last year, making it the regency with the most hotspots. (ebf)
Riau, Kalimantan get helicopters to prevent land, forest fires
Rizal Harahap The Jakarta Post 15 Jan 17;
The Environment and Forestry Ministry is set to dispatch helicopters to Riau and Kalimantan to help maximize ongoing efforts to prevent and control land and forest fires.
Riau Environment and Forestry Agency head Yulwiriati Moesa said the Riau administration’s request for the dispatch of helicopters to tackle land and forest fires had been fulfilled by the central government.
“We are waiting for the arrival of the helicopters they’ve promised us. Helicopters will also be sent to Kalimantan,” she said during a coordination meeting at the Riau gubernatorial office on Friday.
Yulwiriati hopes the helicopters arrive soon to aid in efforts to prevent land and forest fires in 12 regencies and municipalities.
“Forestry authorities have been handed over by regencies and cities to the provincial administration. That’s why we have more duties now. The helicopters will ease our agency’s task to prevent and control land and forest fires in locations difficult to reach via land routes,” she said.
“I observed fire locations in the Bukit Betabuh protected forests in Kuantan Singingi regency several days ago. Firefighting teams faced difficulties in reaching fire spots in hilly areas. That’s why we need helicopters.”
Yulwiriati said she planned to set up an integrated patrol team to anticipate fires in forest areas. The development of ditches and canals in peatland will also continue, for which the Riau administration has allocated Rp 984 million (US$73,873.89).
“A media center for hot spot monitoring will be set up to make it easier for us to detect and coordinate land and forest fire prevention,” she said, adding that the monitoring of the adherence of companies in managing the environment would also be heightened. (ebf)
Efforts ramped up to monitor fires in Riau, Kalimantan amid haze fears
Today Online 16 Jan 17;
JAKARTA — Indonesia’s Environment and Forestry Ministry is set to dispatch helicopters to Riau and Kalimantan to help maximise ongoing efforts to prevent and control land and forest fires, amid growing concern that transboundary haze could soon return.
“We are waiting for the arrival of the helicopters they’ve promised us. Helicopters will also be sent to Kalimantan,” said Riau Environment and Forestry Agency head Yulwiriati Moesa during a coordination meeting at the Riau gubernatorial office on Friday (Jan 13).
Ms Moesa did not state the number of aircraft that they will soon receive.
Expressing hope that the aircraft will arrive soon, she said the helicopters will be used to help 12 regencies and municipalities to monitor and patrol areas that are prone to land and forest fires.
“The helicopters will ease our agency’s task to prevent and control land and forest fires in locations difficult to reach via land routes,” the Jakarta Post quoted her as saying. “I observed fire locations in the Bukit Betabuh protected forests in Kuantan Singingi regency several days ago. Firefighting teams faced difficulties in reaching fire spots in hilly areas. That’s why we need the helicopters,” she said, adding that plans are afoot to set up an integrated patrol team to anticipate fires in forest areas.
The Riau province is located in Sumatra, which is right across the Strait of Malacca from Singapore. The Kuantan Singingi regency is located in Riau. Last week, there were fears that the transboundary haze could return after up to seven hotspots were detected in several regencies in Riau.
Pekanbaru Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency head Sugarin, who like many Indonesians goes by one name, had warned that forest and land fires could plague Riau again, noting that the dry season from next month until March in Riau could make the province’s forests more prone to fire.
According to the Asean Specialised Meteorological Centre, the number of hotspots in Sumatra rose to four on Friday before registering zero on Saturday. It also detected a hotspot in Kalimantan on Saturday.
Haze caused by Indonesian farmers who burn forests to clear their land for agriculture is an annual occurrence that sends smog wafting northward to Singapore and Malaysia.
In late 2015, Singapore, as well as Malaysia and parts of Thailand suffered a severe haze that affected tens of millions of people, forcing schools to close and causing thousands to fall sick across the region. And in June 2013, fires in Riau caused a haze that was behind Singapore’s record Pollutant Standards Index of 401, which is 100 points above the hazardous threshold. AGENCIES
Severianus Endi The Jakarta Post 15 Jan 17;