Palembang, S Sumatra, (ANTARA News) - Two additional water-bombing helicopters have been sent to Palembang, South Sumatra Province, for anticipating wildfires during the 18th Asian Games that will be held from Aug 18 to Sep 2, an official said here on Saturday.

Iriansyah, head of the South Sumatra Disaster Mitigation Office (BPBD), said that the two units of water-bombing helicopters are now being assembled in Palembang City.

Having capacity of 600 liters and 500 liters respectively, the helicopters will be operated to extinguish the wildfires and to conduct patrols at the fire-prone areas in South Sumatra.

These two units of water-bombing helicopters are part of 10 additional units that will be used during the Asian Games, he said.

Besides the two units, four other helicopters have completely been assembled so that they are ready for operation, he said adding that those choppers will play a critical role in extinguishing fires in isolated areas, mainly at peatland and forests.

According to Iriansyah, his office is committed to preventing the wildfires and hazes from occurring in accordance to the instruction ordered by South Sumatra Governor Alex Noerdin.

Besides South Sumatra, the authorities in Riau Province have also been committed to anticipating the wildfires by extending the emergency status last month.

Meanwhile, the Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) has pledged to maintain coordination with all stakeholders to anticipate land and forest fires, the first secretary, Widada Sulistya said recently.

The agency has announced nine fire-prone provinces, namely

Aceh, North Sumatra, West Sumatra, Riau, Jambi, South Sumatra, West Kalimantan, North Kalimantan, and East Kalimantan.

The 18th Asian Games will take place in Jakarta and Palembang. However, the venues will not only be located in Jakarta, but also in its surrounding areas, including Tangerang (Banten Province) and Bogor (West Java).

Reporter: Genta Tenri Mawangi
Editor: Yosep Hariyadi
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