Kotabaru, S Kalimantan (ANTARA News) - The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)`s satellite has detected 12 hotspots here.

"It`s not known yet whether the hotspots are located in forest area or public plantation area," Ali Aripin, the head of the Technical Implementation Unit (UPT)`s Area I Semaras, said here on Saturday.

Ali Said he had found several fires set by local people to clear their land.

As rainfalls became less, a number of people set fire to clear the vegetation.

"Many residents of Pulau Laut Tengah, Pulau Laut Utara and other areas clear the vegetation in their land for farming areas," he said.

Setting fire is the most effective, cheapest and faster way to clear land.

Sukrowardi of the Kotabaru forestry service said his office has anticipated forest and plantation fires at Semaras, Pulau Laut Barat, Kotabaru.

He called on the local people not to burn vegetation to clear their land.

According to data, Kotabaru has around 139,645 hectares of protected forest, 72,653 hectares of sanctuary, 11,651 hectares of limited production forest, 295,065 permanent production forest and 27,982 conservation forest.

Haze has affected Sumatra and Kalimantan Islands over the past few weeks.

Riau province`s Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) said it had detected at least 36 hotspots in Sumatra on June 28, 2011.

Of the total 36 hotspots, 28 hotspots were found in the districts of Siak, Kampar, Bengkalis, Indragiri Hulu, Kuantansingingi, Dumai city, Pelalawan and Rokan Hilir, in Riau Province, Sumatra Island.

In Dumai, a number of local Residents have begun to suffer from respiratory problems due to the haze.

On Kalimantan Island, haze from forest and plantation fires has forced the authorities of Haji Asan airport in Sampit, East Kotawaringin District, Central Kalimantan province, to delay flights, over the past one week.

"Due to the haze, plane arrivals and departures are often late," Head of Haji Asan Airport Maruli Tua Edison Saragih said in Sampit on July 7.

In 1982-83 and 1994, forest fires in Indonesia had destroyed 6.4 million hectares of forests, especially in East Kalimantan.

Indonesia`s forest area reaches around 130 million hectares, the world`s third largest after Brazil and Congo.`

The government has promised to cut the number of hotspots by 20 percent per year to meet Indonesia`s pledge to reduce its emissions by 26 percent by 2020.(*)


Editor: Ruslan Burhani
Copyright © ANTARA 2011