Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Environment and Forestry Ministry has reported that it has carried out water bombing to put out forest and land fires in West Kalimantan.

Director of Forest and Land Fire Control at the ministry Thomas Nifinluri said here on Wednesday that his party has conducted 19 sorties or flights using water bombing helicopters, which have used up a total of 1.25 million liters of water in extinguishing fires.

"Currently, we are struggling with forest and land fires due to El Nino, which reduces rainfall and highly triggers fires and drought," he informed.

He said his side has conducted the first and second phases of weather modification through 40 flights. So far, at least 38.3 tons of salt have been spread in the skies of vulnerable regions in West Kalimantan.

The third phase of weather modification in the province will be carried out from August 23 to September 2, 2023.

"We hope for a more consistent mobilization of task force members on the ground during the forest and land fire crisis in West Kalimantan. We are anticipating the potential for transboundary haze," Nifinluri said.

In July, the ministry reported that 6,681.95 hectares of land and forests in West Kalimantan had been affected by fire.

Of the total, 5,420.66 hectares were mineral lands and 1,261.29 hectares were peatlands.

Nifinluri said that the most widespread forest and land fires in West Kalimantan were recorded in Sambas, Kapuas Hulu, Sintang, and Sanggau districts.

West Kalimantan province has imposed an emergency alert status for haze disasters due to the forest and land fires.

Several countermeasures, including fire extinguishing operations via air and on the ground, have been carried out.

The fire handling has involved several agencies, the military, the police, community organizations, customary institutions, and volunteers.

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Translator: Sugiharto P, Kenzu
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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