Indonesia: Regional haze crisis may reoccur if strong action not taken

Rizal Harahap The Jakarta Post 15 Aug 16;

The Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) in Pekanbaru, Riau, has said all related stakeholders must implement tougher measures to immediately extinguish land fires affecting several areas across the province. If not, he warned, haze problems similar to those of previous years might affect Indonesia’s neighbors.

“Currently, the wind tends to blow to the southeast. If smoke haze occurs, there is a significant chance it will be brought by the wind to our neighboring countries,” BMKG Pekanbaru head Sugarin said on Monday.

Based on data released by the agency, Terra and Aqua satellites detected 54 hotspots in Rokan Hilir on Monday morning, making it the area with the highest number of hotspots in Riau. Meanwhile, Dumai detected 15 hotspots, followed by Bengkalis (8), Rokan Hulu (5), and Meranti Islands, Indragiri Hulu and Siak, which recorded three hotspots each. Kampar reported only one hotspot.

“In total, 92 hotspots were detected in Riau this morning, 84 of which were in coastal areas with a significant amount of peatland,” said Sugirin.

“The number of hotspots in the province has increased significantly, as only 66 hotspots were detected on Sunday. This is because of the dry weather, which makes the land a lot more flammable.”

Residents in Duri, Mandau district, Bengkalis regency, claimed they could smell smoke since early Monday.

Several areas in Tanah Putih district, Rokan Hilir regency, have been blanketed with thick smoke since Monday morning. The smoke came from land fires in Putat village in Tanah Putih district and Siarang Arang village in Pujud district. (ebf)

Number of hotspots in Sumatra significantly up, now 159
Antara 16 Aug 16;

Pekanbaru, Riau (ANTARA News) - The number of hotspots across Sumatra Island has increased significantly to 159, from 92 the previous day.

Of the total 159 hotspots, 92 were found in Riau Province, Slamet Riyadi, the head of the Pekanbaru meteorology office, said here on Monday.

The information was released by Indonesias National Institute of Aeronautics and Space (LAPAN), based on the monitoring by the Terra and Aqua satellites.

Other hotspots were found in Bangka Belitung (330), South Sumatra (20), North Sumatra (six), Jambi (four), Bengkulu (two), Lampung (one), and Riau Islands (one).

In Riau, the hotspots were found in nine districts, including Rokan Hilir (54 hotspots), Dumai (15), Bengkalis (eight), and Rokan Hulu (five).

In the meantime, hotspots indicating forest, peatland and plantation fires have been detected in several provinces in Indonesia lately.

Riau, Jambi, South Sumatra, West Kalimantan and Central Kalimantan have declared an emergency alert status in anticipation of land and forest fires, according to the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB).

"The other provinces prone to land and forest fires are South Kalimantan, East Kalimantan, North Kalimantan and North Sumatra, but they have not declared an emergency status alert," Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, BNPB spokesman, stated.(*)