"In 2023, it is predicted that the drought will be (more intense as) compared to ones in 2022, 2021, and 2020. BNPB is preparing preventive measures, so that the forest and land fires can be kept in check," BNPB Head Suharyanto noted in a written statement received here on Saturday.
If the rain intensity dropped, then the risk of forest and land fires would also be higher since the land would be drier, he remarked.
Suharyanto made the remarks at the 2023 Forest and Land Fire Management Coordination Meeting held at the Environment and Forestry Ministry Office here on Friday, January 20.
Their preventive measures range from coordination with ministries, agencies, and regional governments; preparing land and air operations; and utilizing weather modification technology.
"In 2023, (we) plan to prepare more helicopters, some 49 helicopters. If it is still lacking, BNPB will try to meet the needs. Helicopters for patrols and water bombing, then (utilize) weather modification technology to engineer the weather, as well as preparing ready-to-use funds for operations," he stated.
Suharyanto appealed to regional governments to set an emergency status, as the agency could not extend support if such status was not set yet.
"BNPB funds can (be allocated) to support the region, provided there is an emergency alert or emergency response status," he added.
Moreover, efforts to resolve forest and land fires in 2022 have shown good results, with the burnt areas having decreased as compared to last year, from 358,867 hectares in 2021 to 204,894 hectares in 2022.
In 2022, the agency sent 55 helicopters for conducting water bombing and 33 units for patrols.
Nature also factors in the decline in area engulfed by fires. In 2022, the rainfall intensity was much more as compared to 2021.
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