Pontianak, W Kalimantan (ANTARA) - The LAPAN satellite image data showed 949 hotspots were spotted in West Kalimantan on Sept 3-4, 2019, a notable surge, from 15 hotspots on Sept 2-3, according to the Supadio-Pontianak meteorology station.

Of the total, 433 hotspots were found in Ketapang District, 123 in Sintang, 102 in Sanggau, 87 in Sekadau, 61 in North Kayong, 49 in Landak, 41 in Melawi, 29 in Kubu Raya, 14 in Bengkayang, six in Kapuas Hulu and Sambas, Erika Mardiyanti, head of the meteorology station, stated here on Wednesday.

West Kalimantan Deputy Governor Ria Norsan noted that the provincial administration had issued Government Regulation No. 39 of 2019 on Prevention and Mitigation of Forest Fires to curtail slash and burn practices.

West Kalimantan Police Chief Insp. Gen. Didi Haryono confirmed that the West Kalimantan Police had arrested 52 suspects in land and forest fire cases in the province.

"A total of 52 suspects were arrested in 44 cases comprising 43 individual cases and one involving a corporation," Haryono had stated on Aug 27, 2019.

During the January-July 2019 period, fires ravaged 135,479 hectares of forest and plantation areas throughout Indonesia.

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Of the total, 3,315 hectares (ha) were spotted in West Kalimantan, 71,712 ha in East Nusa Tenggara (NTT), 30,065 ha in Riau, 4,970 ha in Riau Islands, 4,670 ha in South Kalimantan, 4,430 ha in East Kalimantan, and 3,618 ha in Central Kalimantan.

Political, Legal, and Security Affairs Minister Wiranto had earlier admitted to dismal law enforcement against the perpetrators of the slash and burn method triggering forest and land fires. He noted that the government will adopt a different approach to end traditional farming practices using fires.

Wiranto pointed out that the sanction imposed on individuals setting fires had proven ineffectual in thwarting the practice.

The minister confirmed that a stern warning had been issued to 37 corporations to end slash and burn practices to clear land, while legal proceedings against five other companies were yet underway.

Wiranto noted that the number of hotspots this year had surpassed those of the previous years.

"The largest percentage of forest fires was caused by human activities, such as the slash and burn method, for clearing land," he remarked.

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Translator: Andilala, Fardah
Editor: Sri Haryati
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