Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Ministry of Environment and Forestry has recommended the extension of the weather modification technology utilization period in Sumatra to handle forest and land fires.

Head of the ministry's Center for Climate Change, Forest and Land Fire Control for Sumatra region, Ferdian, said here on Tuesday that weather modification is carried out by seeding clouds with salt, which can increase the potential for rainfall.

Rain is vital to accelerate the handling of forest and land fires in several regions of special concern on Sumatra island, namely Jambi, South Sumatra, Riau, North Sumatra, and Aceh, he added.

He informed that drylands are prone to fires, for example, Jambi, which still has one fire spot. Since Tuesday morning, a team from the ministry and the local forest and land fire task force have been making efforts to put out fires at the fire spot, which is located in Londerang district.

Furthermore, South Sumatra is still the province with the most hotspots in Sumatra.

"Weather modification is currently running in South Sumatra, and it will probably be extended like previously in Riau, North Sumatra, and Aceh," he said.

Weather modification in South Sumatra, which is being conducted with financing support from the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB), will end on November 4.

However, as fires have not been fully brought under control on the field, the Ministry of Environment and Forestry and the local government have proposed extending weather modification efforts in the region.

"South Sumatra has been proposed for the extension of weather modification," Ferdian said.

Then, even though forest and land fires are brought further under control in Riau, North Sumatra, and Aceh, weather modification can be carried out again, if needed.

According to him, it would depend on the needs and considerations of the regional government.

"There are two principles, namely comprehensive on-field handling and rain," he said.

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Translator: M Riezko, Raka Adji
Editor: Sri Haryati
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