1,500 soldiers deployed to fight forest fires in South Kalimantan

Banjarmasin, S Kalimantan (Antara) - Some 1,500 soldiers have been deployed to fight land and forest fires in South Kalimantan and prevent them from spreading, a spokesman said.

Under an agreement reached at during a coordination meeting of stakeholders, the Antasari District Military Command 101 Station has been appointed as the main command post to fight forest and land fires in the region, the Commander of the Antasari District Military Command 101, Col. M Abduh Ras, said on Thursday.

"We will coordinate with other forest fire mitigation teams, such as the National Disaster Mitigation Board (BNPB), the Natkional SAR Body (Basarnas), the Indonesian Red Cross (PMI) and local fire departments," he said.

The soldiers in the 13 districts and municipalities in South Kalimantan will cooperate with other forest and land fire mitigation teams to extinguish hotspots as part of efforts to prevent the fires from spreading, he said.

"The soldiers we have deployed come from all forces, the Army, the Air Force and the Navy, as well as the police," he said.

Ras said the soldiers would make every effort in the field to put out the fires, using both traditional and modern methods.

Hotspots have now been found in almost all districts of South Kalimantan, including Banjar, Tanah Laut, Tabalong, and Barito Kuala, he said.(*)