Balikpapan, E Kalimantan (ANTARA) - The Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) reported detecting 252 wildfire hotspots in 7 districts of East Kalimantan on Wednesday (October 4).

The districts comprise Paser, Penajam Paser Utara, Kutai Barat, Kutai Timur, Kutai Kartanegara, Berau, and Mahakam Ulu, spokesperson for the Sultan Aji Muhammad Sulaiman-Sepinggan Meteorology Station, Diyan Novrida, said.

The agency detected 105 hotspots in Kutai Kartanegara, 63 in Kutai Timur, 34 in Berau, 26 in Kutai Barat, 19 in Paser, 4 in Mahakam Ulu, and 1 in Penajam Paser Utara, she informed here on Thursday.

The BMKG has alerted the provincial and regional disaster mitigation agencies in each of the districts about the potential for land and forest fires, she added.

ANTARA has reported earlier that the BMKG has projected this year's dry season will 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 forecast to experience the dry season from June this year.

According to BMKG head Dwikorita Karnawati, the El Nino phenomenon, strengthened by the positive phase of the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD), was predicted to trigger a drought during the dry season in Indonesia.

In view of the serious impact of the El Nino climate pattern on several regions in Indonesia, the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) is collaborating with ministries and institutions to apply weather modification technology (TMC) to extinguish fires and support other needs.

In the last two months, TMC has been implemented continuously in Riau, West Kalimantan, East Nusa Tenggara (NTT), West Java, Jambi, Jakarta, South Kalimantan, and South Sumatra, BNPB head, Lieutenant General Suharyanto, said in a recent statement.

Meanwhile, certain areas on the Indonesian island of Sumatra have been blanketed by haze resulting from wildfires.

The South Sumatra administration has distributed 3.6 million masks to local residents in response to unhealthy air conditions caused by the smog.

According to the head of the South Sumatra Health Service, Trisnawarman, the Air Pollution Standard Index (ISPU) in Palembang city had reached a harmful level on October 1, 2023.

Such poor air quality could seriously harm public health, he added.

The Pekanbaru city administration in Riau Province was reportedly considering closing schools if the haze, which had engulfed the region for days, continued to worsen.

Related news: BNPB increases water-bombing fleet against land fire in S Kalimantan

Related news: Water sources key to handling forest, land fires: Deputy Minister

Translator: M.Ghofar, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Tia Mutiasari
Copyright © ANTARA 2023