This is the location where the seven staffs of KLHK (Indonesian Ministry of Environment and Forestry) were held, while they were investigating the 2,000 ha of land on fire belonging to PT APSL in Rokan Hulu District, Riau Province / photo KLHK

Indonesia declares disaster alerts for South Sumatra, Riau, West Kalimantan and Central Kalimantan.

The threat of forest and land fires continues to increase with the dry weather in some areas of forest and land fires, therefore, four Indonesian provinces have declared disaster alerts, which are South Sumatra, Riau, West Kalimantan and Central Kalimantan.

The Indonesian government established the emergency alert status of the areas based on the consideration of the establishment of several districts in the region that establish the emergency alert of the areas, the increasing number of hotspots, input from Regional Disaster Management Agency (BPBD), and previous experiences of the fire handling.

National Disaster Management Authority (BNPB) spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said, “With the disaster alert status, the provinces will have easier access in terms of personal, logistics, funding and support from the central government to tackle forest fires.”

The areas surrounding the equator are currently entering the first period of dry season such as Riau, West Kalimantan and Central Kalimantan that have equatorial rain patterns,” he added.

The number of hotspots continues to increase. In the past few week hotspots in West Kalimantan have been found, with Pontianak started to be covered in smoke.

Terra and Aqua satellites detected a total of 90 hotspots throughout Indonesia in the past 24 hours through to 7 am on Wednesday.

The agency stated that among the number, 12 of them are in the high category, which means they were really being burned. There are five hotspots in West Kalimantan, two in Kepulauan Riau, three in Central Kalimantan, one in Bangka Belitung, and one in Riau.

Mr Sutopo explained that to overcome the fire they carry out land operations, air operations, law enforcement operations, patrolling and socialization, health service operations and various other efforts.

Combined personnel from BPBD, TNI, Police, Manggala Agni, Damkar, Satpol PP,non-governmental organization, business and volunteers deployed to overcome the fire.

BNPB is still preparing aircraft support for artificial rain and water bombing helicopters. Logistical and equipment support previously distributed to various BPBDs is currently used for outages.