Indonesia: No reason not to immediately stop forest fires, expert says

Bambang Nurbianto The Jakarta Post 18 Aug 16;

Experts say with the current technology, Indonesia has no reason not to immediately extinguish forest fires that have started both in Sumatra and Kalimantan.

“With the firebird technology, we can follow closely the spread of fires from one location to another,” said Suwardi, deputy dean at the Bogor Institute of Agriculture (IPB)’s School of Resources, Cooperation and Development, said on Thursday.

Speaking to the press on the sidelines of the International Peat Congress in Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia, Suwardi said the government needed to immediately utilize the technology to prevent the spread of hot spots, which have increased in number in recent days.

On Wednesday, the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency’s (BMKG) station in Pekanbaru reported 365 hot spots, mostly were seen in Riau forests. Smoke in Sumatra and Kalimantan has posed health risks and disrupted air transportation.

“The government needs to take quick action to stop the fires,” he added.

Meanwhile, Basuki Sumawinata, an IPB expert on land science, added that the technology in place would also help the government enforce the law and immediately prosecute those responsible for the fires and other related parties before the fires spread further.

“We do not need to play the blame game as everything is clear,” Basuki said. (bbn)