Six regions in Riau on alert for land, forest fires

Six regions in Riau on alert for land, forest fires

Archive photo - Smoke billows from a peatland fire in Bengkalis district, Riau on June 2, 2020. (ANTARA/HO-BPBD Bengkalis)

I hope that the public can take part (in the fire prevention effort), and abandon slash-and-burn practices during the dry season. If the peatland catches fire, it is difficult to put it out, and it is costly to do so.
Pekanbaru (ANTARA) - An emergency standby status for land and forest fires has been declared in five districts and one municipality in Riau province as part of efforts to optimize fire prevention efforts during the dry season.

The five districts are Bengkalis, Siak, Pelalawan, Rokan Hilir, and Meranti Islands, while the municipality is Dumai.

"The Riau provincial government has taken a swift step to declare emergency standby status to optimize fire prevention efforts and now district and municipal governments have followed suit," Riau Vice Governor Edy Natar Nasution said in a press statement released on Thursday.

"Six regions have declared emergency standby status as compared to two regions previously. I hope this will serve as a joint effort to strengthen fire prevention efforts,” he said.

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The Riau provincial government has declared emergency standby status for the period from February 11 to October 31, 2021 on account of a potential rise in peatland fires with the start of the dry season.

The alert is aimed at promoting synergy among district and municipal governments, the provincial government, the central government, the Indonesian military, and police in dealing with land and forest fires in the province, Nasution said.

"I hope that the public can take part (in the fire prevention effort), and abandon slash-and-burn practices during the dry season. If the peatland catches fire, it is difficult to put it out, and it is costly to do so," he said.

Since early this year, the area of land and forests gutted by fires has reached 248 hectares, acting chief of the Riau Provincial Natural Disaster Mitigation Board (BPBD), Edwar Sanger, said.

The land and forest fires have been reported in Bengkalis, Siak, Dumai, Indragiri Hilir, Pelalawan, Kepulauan Meranti, Indragiri Hulu, and Rokan Hilir.

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