Indonesia: Two additional helicopters needed to anticipate Riau`s forest fires

Antara 22 Feb 17;

Pekanbaru (ANTARA News) - Two additional helicopters are needed in Riau Province, Sumatra Island, to anticipate the annual land and forest fires, Riaus Forest and Land Emergency Alert Task Force Commander Brig. Gen. Nurendi stated.

"We have, so far, had one Bell 412 helicopter, while the areas that should be covered are large enough. In anticipating an emergency situation caused by land and forest fires, we need at least two helicopters," he noted here, Tuesday.

The two helicopters will be stationed in Pekanbaru and Dumai, he said, adding that the Bell 412 helicopter, provided by the Environment and Forestry Ministry, has been used to conduct air patrols and water bombings since the end of January 2017.

Nurendi said he has officially requested the deployment of the two helicopters.

"We have even requested for an aircraft that can be used to conduct weather modification operations for creating artificial rain," the Military Region Command (Korem) 031/Wira Bima commander stated.

To optimize the task forces efforts to anticipate the threats of this years land and forest fires, Nurendi revealed that the helicopters, owned by the local air force base and pulp and paper firms, were expected to be involved in an emergency situation.

Riau Provinces Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency has detected seven hotspots in five districts on Tuesday.

(Reported by Anggi Romadhoni/Uu.R013/INE/KR-BSR/F001)

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