Potential forest fires detected in Indonesias Riau province: BMKG

Pekanbaru, Riau, The Pekanbaru Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) has detected 54 hotspots, indicating potential occurrences of bush and forest fires, in several parts of Riau Province on Friday.

Referring to the latest images that the Terra and Aqua Satellite released on Friday at 6 a.m. local time, 50 percent of the hotspots were detected in seven districts and cities in the province, the agencys head, Sukisno, informed journalists here.

“Some 28 hotspots are detected in several areas of Bengkalis District, including Rupat Island with 22 hotspots, while six others are found in the areas of Bantan, Bengkalis, and Mandau sub-districts,” he said.

According to Sukisno, 40 of the 54 hotspots, indicating potential occurrences of bush and forest fires, had a confidence level of above 70 percent. They were detected in the district areas of Indragiri Hilir, Dumai, Rokan Hilir, Meranti, and Pelalawan.

Meanwhile, Head of the Riau Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD) Edwar Sanger noted that 857.71 hectares of land were affected by bush and forest fires since January 2019, some 639 hectares of which were located in Bengkalis District.

The related authorities mitigation efforts were always hindered by the lack of fire extinguishers and water sources being located away from the affected areas, he stated.

During the second round of Indonesias presidential debate focusing on the issues of food, energy, infrastructure, environment, and natural sources on Feb 17, the problem of bush and forest fires was highlighted.

The incumbent presidential candidate Joko Widodo convincingly said that Indonesia had not experienced them over these past three years.

His statement triggered numerous public responses. This statement was then corrected by mainstream media, such as Kompas, and environmental watchdog Greenpeace Indonesia. On Feb 18, the incumbent president tendered a clarification and corrected his statement in the second debate.

Antara noted that the real threats of potential bush and forest fires remained obvious in Riau Province, while the South Sumatra city of Palembang was gearing up for the official start of the 18th Asian Games last year.

Source: Antara News