Balikpapan, E Kalimantan (ANTARA) - East Kalimantan is continuing to fight wildfires though the number of hotspots indicating wildfires declined from 183 on Sunday (November 5, 2023) to 148 on Monday (November 6), a meteorologist informed here on Tuesday.

The decrease in the number of hotspots might have been caused by downpours in several areas, spokesperson for the Meteorology Station of Sultan Aji Muhammad Sulaiman-Sepinggan Balikpapan, Diyan Novrida, said.

The decline may have also been triggered by local residents' awareness regarding the need for stopping slash-and-burn land-clearing practices, she said, adding that hotspots have continued to be detected in 6 districts.

The Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) has detected 60 hotspots in Kutai Timur, 32 in Kutai Barat, 28 in Paser, 23 in Berau, 4 in Kutai Kartanegara, and 1 in Mahakam Ulu, she informed.

The findings have been shared with disaster mitigation agencies at the provincial and regional levels to enable them to promptly put out the wildfires engulfing certain parts of the 6 districts, she added.

To reduce and manage the risks of wildfires, she urged locals to support wildfire prevention and mitigation efforts by refraining from throwing cigarette butts on the ground and slash-and-burn land-clearing practices.

ANTARA has reported earlier that the agency has projected that this year's dry season will follow the same pattern as the one witnessed in 2019.

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

BMKG head Dwikorita Karnawati said that a strengthened El Nino phenomenon due to the positive phase of the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) could trigger a drought during the dry season in Indonesia.

Taking note 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.

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Translator: M.Ghofar, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Azis Kurmala
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