Forest and bush fires engulfed the provinces of Aceh, Riau, Jambi, West Kalimantan, Central Kalimantan, South Kalimantan, and West Papua, Wibowo remarked here on Tuesday.
Forest fires devastated a total of 27,683 hectares of area in Riau, 2,274 hectares in West Kalimantan, 236 hectares in South Sumatra, 142 hectares in Aceh, 58 hectares in West Papua, 53 hectares in South Kalimantan, 27 hectares in Central Kalimantan, and four hectares in Jambi.
"The BNPB and the Agency for Technology Assessment and Application (BPPT) have conducted aerial operation to induce artificial rain," he remarked.
Wibowo believed that 99 percent of the fires were triggered by intentional or accidental human activities.
The Indonesian Military and Police have deployed 1,512 officers to prevent and help extinguish forest fires in the five provinces of Riau, South Sumatra, West Kalimantan, Central Kalimantan, and South Kalimantan that have declared an emergency alert status for forest fires.
He pointed out that the presence of peatlands in the five provinces along with Jambi makes them susceptible to forest fires in the dry season. However, no alert status has been declared in Jambi.
Earlier, this year, the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) had reminded the regional authorities to step up vigil over possible forest fires and droughts, as this year's dry season was forecast to be drier than that of the previous year. The extreme dry season has affected several areas since May and is expected to last until September, with the condition likely to peak in August.
Last Sunday, haze arising from forest fire blanketed the sub-districts of Tampan and Senapelan in Pekanbaru, Riau Province, Sumatra Island.
"Haze shrouds Panam (in Tampan Sub-district)," Tanjung, a local resident, noted in Pekanbaru, Riau.
The Terra and Aqua satellites detected 38 hotspots on Sunday morning, rising from 35 hotspots on the previous day, the Pekanbaru Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics (BMKG) station, reported.
The 38 hotspots were spotted in 11 districts and municipalities in Riau Province. Nine hotspots were detected in Siak District, seven in Pelalawan, six each in Bengkalis and Rokan Hilir, three in Kampar, two in Rokan Hulu, as well as one each in Pekanbaru, Meranti, Kuantan Singngi, Indragiri Hilir, and Indragiri Hulu.
A joint team, comprising police and military officers as well as local firefighters, has attempted to extinguish the forest fire in Parit Baru Village, Tambang Sub-district, Kampar District, since the past several days.