Pontianak, W Kalimantan (ANTARA) - The West Kalimantan police questioned intensely 40 found to be allegedly involved in 34 land and forest fire cases that caused incessant suffering to locals owing to the impact of thick smoke emanating from wildfires.

"A total of 33 cases of such land and forest fires are linked to individuals, while the other one is related to corporation," Senior Commissioner Donny Charles Go, the West Kalimantan police spokesman, remarked here on Monday.

The police investigators will continue to make law enforcement efforts targeting individuals and companies involved in the occurrences of wildfires, he noted, adding that the National Police had demonstrated its seriousness in handling land and forest fire cases.

The National Police's assistant team members had also been deployed to West Kalimantan to closely monitor efforts to handle the cases of wildfires raging through several hectares of land during this dry season, he remarked.

The National Police has given clear-cut directives to its apparatuses in the regions to apply preventive and law-enforcement measures concerning the cases of land and forest fires, he stated.

The Environment and Forestry Ministry noted that the authorities had sealed 10 plantation firms and companies granted industrial forest permits (HTI) after wildfires were detected in their areas.

Thick haze, resulting from wildfires in the peatland areas and due to slash and burn activities, has shrouded the areas of Pontianak and several other parts of West Kalimantan over the past few weeks.

Several residents of Pontianak, the capital city of West Kalimantan Province, admitted to having to inhale haze, with a strong odor, arising from wildfires.

Owing to this condition, several residents were apprehensive over the impact of the thick smog on their health and outdoor activities. The haze, lofting through the areas of Pontianak, had also reduced visibility. Amid this year's dry season, land and forest fires hit several provinces in the island of Sumatra, including South Sumatra and Riau. Related news: 382 hotspots detected in West Kalimantan

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Translator: Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Fardah Assegaf
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