Weather modification operation in the last few years has become a permanent solution to controlling forest fires in Indonesia
Jakarta (ANTARA) - The National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN) is using weather modification technology to wet peatlands in South Kalimantan in a bid to prevent forest fires.

"Weather modification operation in the last few years has become a permanent solution to controlling forest fires in Indonesia," the coordinator of the weather modification laboratory at BRIN, Budi Harsoyo, said in a statement received here on Monday.

This year, the weather modification initiative is being conducted from July 7 to July 18, and it is being carried out at the request of the Peatlands and Mangrove Restoration Agency (BRGM), he added.

The weather modification effort aims to support water storage in some peat domes as a means to shorten the length of the dry season and tackle the risk of fire, Harsoyo explained.

"Moreover, once it is at dry season during which there are many forest fires incidents, the (firefighters) personnel can get water from water sources in peatlands to put out fires in land later on," he informed.

He said that according to the BRGM's Peatland Water Monitoring System data, as of July 6, the height of the water surface level in peatlands reached -0.11 meters.

He also drew attention to the Forestry and Environment Ministry's data, which shows that throughout June, NASA's MODIS satellite recorded a number of hot spots in South Kalimantan, with a medium to high probability rate.

"Those conditions show that peatlands have begun to dry, so it is important to conduct efforts to anticipate forest fires in South Kalimantan," Harsoyo stressed.

The Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) has released its prediction for the 2023 dry season, which shows that most of South Kalimantan area will have below normal rate of rain during the dry season, and the peak of dry season is expected to fall in August–September.

It is expected that the weather modification technology will help fill up the water storage area in peatlands while also maintaining the water height in order to maintain humidity and also mitigate the risk of forest fires in the area.

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Translator: Sugiharto Purnama, Mecca Yumna
Editor: Sri Haryati
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