Indonesia: West Kalimantan facing situation of emergency against haze of smoke

Antara 18 Feb 18;

Pontianak, W Kalimantan (ANTARA News) - The district administration of Mempawah of West Kalimantan has announced a situation of emergency against haze of smokes with a number of peat land areas having caught fire as dry season began to hit the region.

"The status of emergency will last until June 30, 2018," acting district head of Mempawah, Gusti Ramlana, said here on Sunday.

Gusti Ramlana said dots of bush fires had been monitored in a number of areas, adding the dry season began only early this month bur the impact is quite damaging.

"I hope the BPPD (local disaster mitigation agency) could give a map of areas vulnerable to forest and bush fires in Mempawah," he said.

Earlier, head of the Climatology station of the Memawah Meteorology and Geophysics agency (BMKG) Wandayantolis said rain is expected in a week in a number of upstream areas, but fires are feared to break out in number of other areas in West Kalimantan.

Meanwhile in Riau, the BPBD of the city of Dumai began to be busy in putting out fires ravaging 20 hectares of forests and farmlands in the area of Tanjung Penyembal.

The BPBD secretary Muhammad Ridho said the oil palm plantation had been on fire for several days as a result of extremely hot dry days and other causes not yet identified.

"A company takes part in seeking to put out the fires that sent thick smokes polluting the air," Ridho said on Thursday.

He said in January, BPBD succeeded in putting out fire in the sub-district of Sungai Sembilan Dumai, but fire began to break out again in the peat land.

Fire fighters are working hard to prevent the fire from spreading with equipment from a local company.

Forest and bush fires in Riau and West Kalimantan have been regular threat almost every year in this region sending thick smoke as far as Malaysia and Singapore.

The threat of drought triggered disaster came when a number of people have been reported killed in rain triggered landslides and floods in other parts of the country.

Editor: Heru Purwanto

Police ordered to arrest culprits of forest fires
Antara 18 Feb 18;

Pontianak, W Kalimantan (ANTARA News) - West Kalimantan`s police chief Brig. Gen. Didi Haryano, has instructed his staffs to arrest the arsonists forest and land fires in every region.

"We have tried to extinguish the land and forest fires at Wonodadi Street 2 and Patria Jaya Hamlet along with Regional military command XII and local people in Rasau Jaya last night. There were two settlements that were almost burned by the fires there," he said here on Sunday.

He said regional police and Indonesian Defense Forces (TNI) with local people made efforts to extinguish the fires. Luckily, the fires did not burn the residents` houses.

Didi revealed there would be many losses related to the fires, such as health problems, sea and air transportation`s disturbance because of the smoke.

He had experiences on land and forest fires impact to respiratory infections victims and transportation activity disturbances. He hoped this incident would not happen anymore in West Kalimantan.

Didi expected to cooperate with people in order to prevent land fires.

Forest and land fires started happening in West Kalimantan since this week. According to data of province`s Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD), there was around 182 of 2,000 villages have been monitored in the land and forest fire movement.

"We expect the assistance from police to prevent and punish the culprits behind the land and forest fires," Head of West Kalimantan`s BPBD, TTA Nyarong said.

Nyarong said there was high indication of hot spots in West Kalimantan in 2015. Then, it decreased drastically in 2016 and 2017. He urged the people to prevent the fires before they escalated too far.

Reported by Rendra Oxtora
Editor: Heru Purwanto