"BNPB will allocate Rp9.18 billion in funds for the operations."
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The National Disaster Mitigation Board (BNPB) and the Agency for the Assessment and Application of Technology (BPPT) will conduct cloud-seeding operations in Riau, Jambi and Central Kalimantan provinces to deal with haze from forest fires.

The cloud-seeding operations in Riau will start on August 12 and Central Kalimantan on August 27 and continue 40 days each, Head of Data, Information and Public Relations Services at BNPB Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said on Tuesday.

He said two Cassa 212-200 planes will be used in the cloud-seeding operations in Riau and Central Kalimantan.

"BNPB will allocate Rp9.18 billion in funds for the operations," he said.

The office of the Meteorology, Geophysics and Climatology Agency (BMKG) in Padang, West Sumatra, detected a total of 75 hotspots across Sumatra last Saturday.

"Based on the results of our monitoring, there were 533 hotspots detected four days ago, though the number dropped to 75," head of the office`s observation and information section. Syahrizal, said.

The hotspots were mostly found in South Sumatra, Jambi and Lampung provinces, he said.

Only a few of them were detected in Riau province, he said, adding that no hotspots had been detected in West Sumatra province.

The hotspots discovered in the provinces had led to a blanket of fog covering several areas in Sumatra, including Padang, over the past few days, he said.

To support the ongoing National Sport Week (PON) in Riau, Sutopo said BNPB will also conduct aerial water bombing by operating 20 helicopters for 20 days. The activity will cost Rp3.28 billion.

"Since woodland and forest fires are on the increase in Jambi BNPB has launched cloud-seeding operations since September 7, 2012 using a Cassa 212-200 plane owned by the Indonesian Army," he said.

The 30-day cloud-seeding operations in Jambi will cost Rp3.42 billion, he said.

In total, the cloud-seeding operations to contain forest and woodland fires will cost Rp15.88 billion, he said.

The NOAA satellite has detected hotspots in several provinces including South Sumatra, Riau, Jambi, and South Kalimantan. Since early this year a total of 22,730 hotspots have been detected across the country.

The Forestry Ministry has predicted 30,150 hotspots will be detected this year, with the peak in August and September.

Editor: Priyambodo RH
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