Pekanbaru, Riau (ANTARA News) - Bush fires are a growing threat in Sumatra with Terra and Aqua satellite detecting more hot spots mainly in the province of Riau.

Terra and Aqua satellite detected 346 hot pots in Sumatra and 148 of which are in Riau causing a threat of forest fires, head of the data and information division of the National Agency for Disaster Control (BNPB) Agus Wibowo said here on Friday.

The latest data showed an increase of 87 in the number of hot spots on Friday morning from the number on Thursday, Agus said.

Haze caused a drastic cut in visibility at 07.00 local time in a number of areas in Riau, he said.

"The cities of Dumai and the district of Pelalawan are blanketed with thick smoke this morning that we could not see anything beyond 1 kilometer away in Dumai and 4 kilometers in the district of Pelalawan," he added.

In Pekanbaru the visibility is limited to three kilometers because of haze, but aircraft could still take off and landing in the citys Sultan Syarif Kasim II airport.

In Sumatra only the provinces of Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam and West Sumatra are free from the threat of bush fires, Agus said.

In Riau, 148 hot spots are spread in 10 of its regencies and the one having largest number of hot spot is the regency of Rokan Hilir, where there are 73 hot spots.

The districts of Bengkalis and Kampar each has seven spots, the municipal city of Dumai 14 spots , Kuantan Singingi six spots Pelalawan 12 spots, Rokan Hulu 14 spots, Indragiri Hulu nine spots, Indragiri Hilir five spots and Siak a spot.

The risk of forest fires in Riau is still high in the dry season with rain expected only in the eastern and western parts of the province, Agus said.

The provincial administration of Riau has warned of the impact of long dry season and the weather phenomenon El Nino.

Hundreds of firemen assisted by three helicopters dropping water bombs and an airplane to produce artificially made rain were sent to cope with bush fires in the province.

Editor: Aditia Maruli Radja
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