Indonesia: Five provinces declare fire alert emergency status

Antara 13 Aug 16;

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Five governors have declared an emergency alert status in anticipation of land and forest fires in their provinces, according to the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB).

"The move is aimed at anticipating and preventing land and forest fires," the head of the agencys data and information center and public relations, Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, said here on Friday.

The five provinces are Riau, Jambi, South Sumatra, West Kalimantan and Central Kalimantan.

"The other provinves prone to land and forest fires are South Kalimantan, East Kalimantan, North Kalimantan and North Sumatra but they have not declared alert emergency status," he added.

Following the declaration of such an alert, the BNPB will lend assistance to regional disaster mitigation offices in the five provinces in addressing land and forest fires, he stated.

The BNPB is deploying eight water bombing helicopters, two water bombing planes and two cloud seeding planes to help the air task force.

Three of the water bombing helicopters, two air tractor planes and one cloud seeding plane are deployed in Riau.

South Sumatera received two water bombing helicopters and an air tractor water bombing plane.

Central Kalimantan received two water bombing planes.

Land and forest fires are being handled through five strategies: first involves fire fighting operations on land, fire fighting operations in the air, law enforcement operations.(*)

Peat Land and Forest Fires Emergency Alert Raised in Five Provinces in Sumatra and Kalimantan
Ratri M. Siniwi Jakarta Globe 12 Aug 16;

Jakarta. Five provinces in Sumatra and Kalimantan are bracing up to face peat land and forest fires as the dry season comes close to its peak in September.

The governors of Riau, Jambi, South Sumatra, West Kalimantan and Central Kalimantan have already raised forest fire emergency alert for their provinces. South Kalimantan, East Kalimantan, North Kalimantan and North Sumatera — also vulnerable to forest fires — have not raised the alert.

"The national disaster management agency (BNPB) will provide assistance to their regional counterparts to handle the forest fires," said BNPB spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho in a statement on Friday (12/08).

According to Sutopo, BNPB has already deployed eight water-bombing helicopters, two water-bombing aircraft and two cloud-seeding aircraft in Riau, South Sumatra and Central Kalimantan.

In areas where emergency has been declared, the armed forces, the police, local and national disaster mitigation agencies, the Manggala Agni Forest Fire Brigade and volunteer firefighters will be deployed.

The BNPB will also have on standby 16 water-bombing and patrol helicopters, two water-bombing aircraft and eight cloud-seeding aircraft.

Last year's seasonal fires – which observers described as the worst on record – destroyed vegetation on millions of hectares of peat land, afflicted more than half a million people with respiratory problems and resulted in billions of dollars in economic losses.

The same tragedy may happen again this year if there is no coordination between palm oil companies, local governments, security officers and government agencies to work out a way to minimize the fires.

Riau Police continue to enforce law against land burners
Rizal Harahap The Jakarta Post 12 Aug 16;

The Riau Police say they are committed to enforcing the laws against land burners and since the beginning of January have arrested 79 suspects.

“The suspects have been handled in 10 police precincts,” Adj. Sr. Comr. Hariwiyawan of the Riau Police’s general crime investigation directorate told The Jakarta Post on Thursday.

He said land burned by the suspects totaled 380,485 hectares. “Most of the suspects were arrested red-handed clearing land using slash and burn methods. It was suspected they intentionally burned the land to open new plantations,” said Hariwiyawan.

Land and forest fires have continued to expand and Riau still has the highest number of hot spots in Sumatra. Local administrations reportedly have been overwhelmed by the rapidly growing hot spots.

On Thursday, 54 hot spots reportedly sprang up in Sumatra. Riau became the biggest contributor with 29. “Nine hot spots were identified in South Sumatra, followed by North Sumatra [with eight], West Sumatra [five], Jambi [two] and the Riau Islands with one hot spot,” said Sugarin, the head of the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) Pekanbaru.

In Riau, hot spots have spread in eight out of 12 regencies and cities in the province. Pelalawan recorded eight hot spots, followed by Dumai and Bengkalis, which identified five hot spots each. Kampar detected four hot spots while Siak saw three hot spots. Meanwhile, Meranti Islands reported two hot spots, followed by Rokan Hulu and Indragiri Hulu, which recorded one hot spot each.

“Of the total, 13 hot spots are indicated as fire spots with a trust level of more than 70 percent,” said Sugarin. (ebf)