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photo: twitter.com/sutopo_bnpb

Six Indonesian provinces declare state of emergency for forest and bush fires

JAKARTA - Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, head of Data, Information, and Public Relations BNPB (National Board for Disaster Management) said six of Indonesian provinces have declared state of emergency for their forest and bush fires.

These provinces are, South Sumatera, Jambi, Riau, West Kalimantan, Central Kalimantan and South Kalimantan.

"The declaration of emergency status would give BNPB and its regional units easier access to the potential sources in our efforts to mobilise firefighting forces," Mr Nugroho said.

Mr Nugroho also said the worst of the dry season is yet to come; it is feared September forest fires are more devastating; therefore BNPB has added water bombing helicopters.

“Sumatra and Kalimantan always had the largest number of hot spots from August until October with the worst in September.”

“The West Kalimantan Governor has extended the emergency period until November for that province,” he added.

Currently, BNPB has eight units of water bombing helicopters, two units of water bombing fixed wing aircraft and another two planes for artificially made rain.

heli-hazeThe helicopter of PT Sinar Mas quenches the forest fire on the border of Desa (village) Tasik Serai and Desa Bukit Krikil in Bengkalis District / photo: twitter.com/sutopo_bnpb

"Three of the water bombing helicopters, two water bombing fixed planes and a CASA plane for artificial rains would be placed in Riau."

“This year, preparations in dealing with the forest fire emergency situation is better than in previous years.”

"In 2015, preparation and action in dealing with forest and bush fires came late resulting in greater difficulties in putting out the fires," Mr Nugroho explained.

In response to an inquiry from TOC, the Asia Pulp & Paper Group (APP) wrote, "We are and will continue to work closely with all national agencies to put out fires which are within and which pose a risk to our suppliers' concession areas, and we will continue discussing collaborative measures in forest management.”

JOSE Raymond, the Vice President of Corporate Affairs in Singapore explained further, “This year AAP has taken fire suppression action in collaboration with a range of organisations, including the Indonesian Armed Forces, Indonesian National Police Force, Riau’s Local Agency for Disaster Management, the Indonesian Forest Fire Brigade or Manggala Agni, provincial government, and local communities.”

“This united task force has proven effective in suppressing fire at critical hotspots, particularly in Riau province, including as the Bukit Kerikil Wildlife and Biosphere Reserve, Bandara Pinang Kampai Dumai in Meranti Regency, and forest area surrounding Kubu Rokan Hilir.”

“Three water-bombing helicopters, including a Super Puma, along with hundreds of trained personnel and heavy firefighting equipment such as Tohatsu pumps, mini striker pumps, and hoses have been utilised in these suppression efforts," Mr Raymond added.