Bogor, West Java (ANTARA) - Indonesia's Environmental Affairs and Forestry Ministry (KLHK) has deployed task force teams as a precautionary measure against forest fires, especially in the Sumatra and Kalimantan Islands, during the upcoming dry season.

"It remains the government’s priority to take precautionary measures against the possibility of forest and land fires," Minister of Environmental Affairs and Forestry Siti Nurbaya noted in a statement received here on Saturday.

Based on the analysis of the Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency (BMKG), the dry season is expected to peak during the June-July period, especially in Riau, Jambi, South Sumatra, Central Kalimantan, North Kalimantan, and East Kalimantan.

Nurbaya cited President Joko Widodo as saying that despite the current COVID-19 pandemic taking a major toll on multiple aspects of life, priority services should remain unhindered.

Nurbaya lauded the field teams, particularly members of the ministry's forest fire task force Manggala Agni, Indonesian Defense Forces (TNI), Indonesian Police (Polri), Regional Disaster Mitigation Offices (BPBD), National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB), Agency for Assessment and Application of Technology (BPPT), BMKG, local governments, the private sector, and the Fire Concerned Community (MPA), which continue to function in the pandemic situation.

“I thank you for your dedication. Keep maintaining the health and safety of the team members. I continue to monitor reports from the field every day,'' the minister affirmed.

Nurbaya also chaired a virtual coordination meeting held to discuss precautionary measures to tackle the threat of forest and land fires at the central government level and the National Task Force on Thursday (Apr 23).

The deputy minister of environmental affairs and forestry, BMKG head, and BPPT head participated in the virtual coordination meeting.

''In connection with forest and land fires, we cannot wait. It is necessary to take precautionary measures from now on, including by preparing TMC (Weather Modification Technology). We wrote to the regional government heads in early March and called on all parties, including the private sector and regional stakeholders, to remain vigilant against forest and land fires,'' she revealed.

Another important area that necessitates attention is to send out more stringent warnings to forest concessionary holders whose locations are repeatedly ravaged by fires.

Based on data from the Terra and Aqua Satellite (NASA) monitoring, during the period from January 1 to April 23, a total of 737 hotspots were recorded, a drop of 440 hotspots, or 37.38 percent, from 1,177 hotspots during the corresponding period last year. Related news: Wildfire exhumes two hectares of peatland in Aceh
Related news: 11 hotspots of forest fires detected in Riau's coastal areas


Translator: Riza Harahap, Fardah
Editor: Suharto
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