Pekanbaru, Riau (ANTARA News) - Forest and land fires have spread across Riau Province, reaching 633 hectares since Jan 14.

The most difficult and worst fires were found in Sepahat Village that shares its borders with Bengkalis District and Dumai. Riau`s Forest and Land Fire Task Force has received assistance from Asia Pulp & Paper of Sinarmas that has provided a Super Puma helicopter to conduct water-bombing operations in the burnt area, ANTARA observed here on Tuesday.

The team was able to carry limited equipment due to the difficult terrain that led to accessibility issues.

According to the Regional Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD) of Riau in Pekanbaru, the fire has spread to some 12 hectares in the Altaf Agencie Residential area of neighborhood associations 04.

Meanwhile, land fires spread in the Kualarenanggan Hamlet, Lubuk Kembang Bunga Village, in Pelalawan District, reaching 30 hectares; Simpang Lecek Ujung Street, Sungai Segajah Jaya, in Rokan Hilir District, reaching five hectares; and Sri Tanjung Rupat Village in Bengkalis District, engulfing 30 hectares.

An assessment of the burnt areas around Riau`s city and district revealed one hectare in Rokan Hulu, 21 hectares in Rokan Hilir, 86.25 hectares in Dumai, 88 hectares in Bengkalis, 211.5 hectares in Kepulauan Meranti, 2.5 hectares in Siak, 31 hectares in Pekanbaru, 15.25 hectares in Kampar, 31 hectares in Pelalawan, 121.5 hectares in Indragiri Hulu, and 24 hectares in Indragiri Hilir.

Pekanbaru City`s condition seemed better, as no fog appeared following rainfall in the morning. Until this afternoon, the sky was cloudy.

Starting from February 19 to May 31 in 2018, Riau has declared a standby emergency status for forest and land fires. The Riau government took the decision following an increase in the number and area of hotspots in early 2018.

Riau needs assistance from the National Disaster Mitigation Agency to provide a helicopter for conducting water-bombing operations and to implement the weather modification technology to prevent forest and land fires, Head of Riau`s BPBD Edwar Sanger stated.

Reported by FB Anggoro

Reporter: SYSTEM
Editor: Heru Purwanto
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