Bengkulu (ANTARA) - The Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) has warned Bengkulu residents in several districts to stay cautious of potential wildfires, as 26 hotspots had been detected on Friday.

The hotspots were detected in certain areas of Lebong, Bengkulu Tengah, Seluma, and Bengkulu Utara districts, Muhammad Fajar, a climatologist at Bengkulu's Fatmawati Soekarno Meteorology Station, stated.

The potential wildfires could occur in the hotspot-affected areas due to the absence of rainfall over the past few weeks. Moreover, Fajar had yet to receive reports of land and forest fires.

Fajar, however, urges locals to stay alert and stop clearing land through the slash-and-burn agricultural method, as Bengkulu still experiences dry season in the midst of El Nino climate pattern.

The Bengkulu provincial police and several authorized agencies have drafted a standard operating procedure (SOP) for wildfire prevention and mitigation efforts, he remarked.

Authorities involved in drafting the SOP include BMKG, Bengkulu Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD), Bengkulu military command, and National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas).

Related news: BMKG detects 27 hotspots in North Sumatra

By applying the SOP, the provincial police along with related authorities began conducting public awareness campaigns on wildfire prevention and mitigation efforts.

ANTARA reported earlier that the BMKG had projected that this year's dry season would follow the same pattern as the one seen in 2019.

A total of 28 percent of regions in Indonesia, which include 194 seasonal zones (ZOM) determined by the BMKG, were expected to experience the dry season from June this year.

BMKG Head Dwikorita Karnawati remarked that El Nino phenomenon, which is getting stronger due to the positive phase of the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD), could trigger a drought during the dry season in Indonesia.

Meanwhile, in the midst of drought, Indonesia's Environment and Forestry Ministry reportedly sent at least 96 warning letters on hotspot findings to corporations or land concessionaires.

Director General of Environmental and Forestry Law Enforcement at the ministry Rasio Ridho Sani has urged the companies to take immediate measures to prevent and combat forest and land fires.

The ministry continues to monitor hotspots in forests and plantations across Indonesia. If hotspots, with a confidence level of 80 percent, are indicated, the ministry issues a warning letter to prevent the hotspots from spreading, Sani stated.

Related news: Ministry handles forest fires with a hotspot approach

Related news: Indonesian govt sues 22 companies over forest, land fires

Translator: Anggi M, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Yuni Arisandy Sinaga
Copyright © ANTARA 2023