Police chief orders arrest of forest fire perpetrators

National Police chief General Tito Karnavian has ordered the arrest of the perpetrators of forest and land fires.

“Some have burned them. So just arrest and process them,” he said when inspecting forest and land fires in Rimbo Panjang in the sub-district of Tambang, Kampar district, Riau province in Sumatra.

Accompanied by Riau governor Arsyadjuliandi Rachman, the chief of Riaus forest fire emergency task force, Brigadier General Nurendi and the chief of the Roesmin Nurjadin air base, General Tito immediately left for the fire location upon arrival at the regional Sultan Syarif Kasim II airport.

The location is 20 minutes away from the provincial capital city of Pekanbaru and through dirt road for around one kilometer long.

During the inspection the team from the task force was just conducting water bombing to put out the fires using helicopters MI-8 and MI-171.

The smell of smoke was strongly felt coming from the fires in Rimbo Panjang that have lasted for the past three days.

The national police chief said forest fires in Riau happened due absence of rain to make peat land drier and thus vulnerable to fires. The situation has been worsened by strong wind that has made the fires to move from one place to another.

“Now the fires have happened. So our focus now is fighting them and enforcing the law. We appreciate our colleagues here that have named 85 people suspects behind the fires. In the future they must just arrest those who cause fires,” he said.

General Tito underlined the difficult access to the locations of fires and so special cars are needed to take water tanks to the centers of fires.

He said water supply has also been a source of problems and so wells would be needed.

“I will coordinate with the central agencies including the Peat Restoration Agency to increase the number of wells and equipment for the fire fighters,” he said.

Source: Antara News