Indonesia: Sumatra Braces for Wildfires in Upcoming Dry Season

Antara Jakarta Globe 8 Feb 17;

Jakarta. South Sumatra administration is turning attention to preparatory measures against wildfires in the upcoming dry season.

As reported by Antara news agency, South Sumatra Governor Alex Noerdin on Tuesday (07/02) requested the province's Regional Disaster Management Agency (BPBD) to coordinate with relevant institutions and keep an eye on fire-prone areas, such as Ogan Komering Ilir and Musi Banyuasin, and keep its officers and equipment on standby.

All 17 districts of the province have been warned about the hazards of slash and burn practices and sanctions will be imposed on those who clear their land with fire.

Meanwhile, Riau Governor Arsyadjuliandi Rachman has issued an alert for peatland and forest fires in the province until April 30.

"Riau in 2016 has put out 83.2 percent of fires. While in 2015, 2.6 million hectares of land were burnt, it was only 438,000 hectares last year," Arsyadjuliandi has earlier told Antara.

He had requested industry players to make use of their CCTV monitoring systems to detect early signs of wildfires, and established a joint team of the police, military, air force and public prosecution officials to battle possible outbreaks.