Pekanbaru (ANTARA News) - The Riau Police have named 85 suspects over wildfires during the January-August 2016 period.

The cases are being handled by 11 resort police stations across Riau, Adjunct Senior Commissioner Guntur Aryo Tejo, spokesman of the Riau Police, remarked here, Monday.

The suspects comprise land owners or farmers who used slash and burn methods to clear land for farming or plantation, the policeman noted, adding that no plantation company was involved in the wildfires.

The Riau provincial authorities have extended the emergency status for wildfires from March to November 2016 to optimize the efforts to control the fires.

As the result, Riau, which had been shrouded by haze every year for the past 18 years, is now almost free from it.

Head of the Riau Disaster Mitigation Office Edwar Sanger, however, reported that from January to August 2016, a total of 1,559.9 hectares of forest, peatland, and plantation areas had been razed by fires across the province.

Last Saturday, Indonesias National Institute of Aeronautics and Space reported that the number of hotspots across Sumatra Island had reached 74, seven more than the 67 reported a day earlier.

Of the 74 hotspots, 34 were found in Riau, 15 in South Sumatra, nine in North Sumatra, six in Bangka Belitung, five in West Sumatra, four in Lampung, and one in Aceh.

Editor: Priyambodo RH
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