The hotspots were detected in the districts of Bengkalis, Meranti, Pelalawan, Siak, and Indragiri Hilir as well as Dumai city, according to the agency's analyst for Sultan Syarif Kasim II-Pekanbaru's Meteorology Station Yasir Prayuna said. The level of confidence of five out of 15 detected hot spots reached 70 percent. This indicated the occurrence of fires, he said, adding that two land fires were detected in Dumai and Indragiri Hilir respectively while the other one was found in Bengkalis.
To halt the recurrence of serious wildfires in Riau, Prayuna called on locals to stop implementing the slash-and-burn methods for land clearing amid the fact that certain parts of the province had faced a transition from rainy to the first phase of the dry season.
The northern parts of Riau Province are now in the first phase of the dry season since early this month, he said.
In contrast, in December 2019, flash floods and a landslide swamped certain areas of this province, killing six people, according to Riau Disaster Mitigation Agency's (BPBD's) Acting Head Edwar Sanger.
The landslide buried two victims, while four others died in the flash floods that inundated certain areas in the districts of Rokan Hulu and Kuantan Singingi, he remarked.
The floods inundated the areas of 216 villages in the districts of Rokan Hulu, Kampar, Pelalawan, Kuantan Singingi, Indragiri Hulu, and Rokan Hilir, affecting 8,798 houses, according to Sanger.
Due to the grave nature of such natural disasters, the district governments of Kampar, Rokan Hulu, Pelalawan, and Indragiri Hulu had issued an emergency alert status in response to the threats of floods and landslides until the end of 2019, he remarked.
During the rainy season, certain parts of Riau are prone to flooding and landslides while during the dry season, wildfires continue to recurrently ravage this province.
In August 2019, Riau and several other provinces in the islands of Sumatra and Kalimantan were blanketed by haze arising from land and forest fires. Consequently, the air quality deteriorated in Pekanbaru and several other districts in Riau Province.
Some 1,136 residents of Pekanbaru suffered from upper respiratory tract infections following exposure to haze arising from forest fires raging in the province's several districts, according to the BNPB.
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