Indonesia: Riau extends emergency alert status to maintain control of forest fires

Rizal Harahap The Jakarta Post 11 Apr 17;

Riau province has extended its emergency alert status in order to maintain a tight grip on forest fires in the province, an official has said.

The decision was made following a meeting at the Riau administration office on Thursday. The meeting concluded that the measures taken by the government, including declaring an emergency alert status, had been effective in curbing forest fires.

“The measures to mitigate forest fires have been effective after the provincial administration declared an emergency alert status on Jan. 24, or a few days after Dumai and Rokan Hulu regency did so,” Riau administration secretary Ahmad Hijazi said.

The current emergency alert status was scheduled to expire on April 30. It has now been extended until Nov. 30, Ahmad said.

Riau Disaster Mitigation Agency head Edwar Sanger said the extension of the emergency alert status did not mean that forest fires were on the rise in the province. “This step was taken to prevent forest fires,” he said.

By setting the emergency standby statuses early, regions can ask for aid from the central government to tackle very small fires to prevent them from growing into bigger ones when the dry season begins. (ary)

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