We continue efforts to put out the forest fires
Pekanbaru, Riau (ANTARA) - The Terra and Aqua satellites tracked 1,182 hotspots suggestive of forest fires throughout Sumatra Island on Saturday.

Jambi Province had the largest number, reaching 499 hotspots, followed by 391 in South Sumatra and 198 in Riau, the Pekanbaru meteorology, climatology, and geophysics station reported here on Saturday.

Some 40 hotspots were found in Bangka Belitung, 33 in Lampung, nine in Riau Island, eight in West Sumatra, and two each in Bengkulu and North Sumatra. In Riau Province, 74 hotspots were found in Indragiri Hilir, 57 in Rokan Hilir, 28 in Pelalawan, 17 in Bengkalis, 14 in Indragiri Hulu, four in Kuansing, and two each in Meranti and Kampar.

At least 129 fire spots of forest fires were confirmed in Riau, with the largest number found in Indragiri Hilir, reaching 47; 38 in Rohan Hilir; and 18 in Pelalawan.

Forest fires in Riau produced smog that reduced visibility to 700 meters in Pekanbaru, 400 meters in Pelalawan, and 500 meters in Rengat Town, Indragiri Hili.

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The air pollutant standard index in Pekanbaru indicated that air quality in the provincial capital city is very unhealthy.

Edwar Sanger, deputy commander of the Riau forest fire task force, remarked that the haze shrouding Pekanbaru arose from forest fires in the districts of Pelalawan and Kampar.

"We continue to make efforts to put out the forest fires," he stated.

Forest fires, caused due to people intentionally setting fires for land clearance, have ravaged several Indonesian provinces of Riau, South Sumatra, Jambil, West Kalimantan, Central Kalimantan, South Kalimantan, and East Kalimantan.

The forest and peatland fires produced smog that have choked millions of people, including babies, children, and seniors.

Several animal species, including orangutans and Sumatran tigers, have also fallen victim to the fires.

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In the meantime, the National Disaster Mitigation Board (BNPB) confirmed that some 29,039 fire brigade personnel were roped in to tackle land and forest fires across Indonesia.

Of the total personnel engaged in the efforts, 10,015 are tasked with handling land and forest fires in Central Kalimantan Province, Acting Chief of the BNPB Center for Data, Information, and Public Relations Agus Wibowo noted in a press statement released on Friday.

In conducting its tasks, the BNPB has deployed 44 helicopters, comprising 34 for water bombing operations and 10 for patrolling.

In Central Kalimantan, the BNPB has deployed seven helicopters to conduct water bombing and two helicopters for patrols.

The substantial deployment of fire brigade personnel was also apparent in South Sumatra Province where the BNPB had engaged 8,679 personnel equipped with seven helicopters for water bombing and two helicopters for patrols.

The BNPB has also employed 5,809 fire brigade personnel in Riau Province and operated six helicopters for conducting water bombing and one helicopter for patrolling.

Wibowo noted that 270,284,874 liters of water had been sprayed during water-bombing operations to douse land and forest fires throughout Indonesia.

Around 127,392,800 liters of water had been utilized during aerial operations in Riau owing to the largest area of land and forest fires across the province.

Furthermore, the government has sprayed 163,216 kilograms of salt to apply weather modification technology to induce rains in regions where land and forest fires are found. Related news: Presidential plane lands smoothly at haze-shrouded Riau airport

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Translator: FB Anggoro, Fardah
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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