Indonesia: Widespread hotspots mark the start of dry season

Rizal Harahap The Jakarta Post 23 May 17;

Hotspots have sprung up in several regencies across Riau in the last two days marking the start of dry season in the province.

Data collected by the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) Pekanbaru from Terra and Aqua satellites on Tuesday morning detected seven hotspots, which had spread in four regencies across Riau. Three hotspots were detected in Pelalawan, followed by Kuantan Singingi, which recorded two hot spots. Indragiri Hilir and Siak had one hotspot each.

“The seven hotspots have a confidence level of more than 50 percent. If we analyze them deeper, two out of the seven hotspots have a higher confidence level, reaching up to 70 percent. These two hotspots are both in Kuantan Singingi,” BMKG Pekanbaru data and information head Slamet Riyadi said on Tuesday.

“With a confidence level of above 70 percent, they can be categorized as fire spots so we need to check the condition in the field to ensure whether land fires have occurred,” he said.

Slamet said the number of hotspots detected on Tuesday morning was similar to what was found on Monday afternoon. Therefore, related authorities must be alert to the potential for forest fires that will continue to increase as the dry season progresses, he added.

“The temperature is quite high, reaching 34.5 degrees Celsius. Rainfall has declined so the potential for forest fires will increase. Dry peatlands will easily catch fire during this season if we don’t prevent it,” said Slamet. (dis/ebf)

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