Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Ministry of Environment and Forestry is committed to anticipating the threat of forest and land fires in Indonesia.

The ministry is working hard to control the environmental, health, and economic impacts of such fires.

Minister of Environment and Forestry Siti Nurbaya Bakar informed that the government has conducted a special coordination meeting to anticipate forest and land fires.

"In 2023, Indonesia may experience a climate anomaly with reduced intensity of rain. The weather can become hotter," she said during a press conference at Manggala Wanabakti Building, Jakarta, on Friday.

Reduced rainfall could potentially cause forest and land fires, thus synergy between agencies and ministries is important to anticipate this threat, she added.

Indonesia currently has special instruments to prevent fires permanently, namely monitoring hotspots, conducting patrols, continuous field evaluations, peat management, law enforcement, and inviting the public to understand efforts to protect forests and land, Bakar informed.

During the meeting, Central Kalimantan, Riau, and West Kalimantan submitted their reports on the implementation of those instruments.

In addition, Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs Mahfud MD who also attended the meeting, asked the regions to continue maintaining forest and land fire prevention instruments.

According to the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, 66 fires were recorded over an area of 459 hectares in 11 provinces of Indonesia in the period from January 1–19, 2023.

In 2022, the area affected by forest and land fires in Indonesia reached 204 thousand hectares. The figure showed a decline compared to 358 thousand hectares in 2021.

Minister Mahfud said he hopes that the anticipation and mitigation efforts taken by the Indonesian government will help reduce the number of hotspots and the threat of danger, especially forest and land fires in the border areas, to prevent the haze from spreading to neighboring countries.

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Translator: Sugiharto Purnama, Resinta S
Editor: Azis Kurmala
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