Russia-made helicopter deployed to extinguish Riau wildfires

Russia-made helicopter deployed to extinguish Riau wildfires

Russian made MI 17 helicopter of the Indonesia National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB) dropped water bombs on an area that burned in Riau, on Friday (July 24, 2015). (ANTARA/FB Anggoro)

Pekanbaru (ANTARA News) - The National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) has rented a Russian-made Sikorsky helicopter to strengthen its efforts to put out wildfires in Riau Province.

The helicopter arrived at Roesmin Nurjadin Air Force Base here on Saturday (July 25) and started dropping water bombs on the fires on Sunday, Edward Sanger from the Pekanbaru disaster mitigation office stated.

In addition to Sikorsky, the office has already deployed an MI-17 helicopter in an effort to extinguish the blaze.

Sikorsky has a capacity to carry up to four tons of water during each sortie.

In the meantime, the Terra and Aqua satellites detected 308 hotspots indicating wildfires on Sumatra Island, Sunday, Head of the Pakanbaru meteorology, climatology and geophysics office (BMKG) Sugarin stated.

Riau is the largest contributor, with 122 hotspots, followed by South Sumatra (59), Jambi (58), North Sumatra (25), West Sumatra (19), Bengkulu (10), Bangka Belitung (nine), Lampung (five), and Riau Islands (one), according to Sugarin.

In Riau Province, 44 hotspots were found in Pelalawan District, 17 in Bengkalis, 16 in Kampar, 14 in Indragiri Hulu, eight in Indragiri Hilir, seven in Dumai, five in Rokan Hilir, four in Kuantan Singingi, and two in Rokan Hulu.

Of the total 122 hotspots in Riau, 71 had the accuracy rate of above 70 percent, thereby confirming the emergence of wildfires in the province.

More wildfires are likely to occur in Riau as the temperature in Riau reached 34 degrees Celsius, and the humidity was 97 percent.

The visibility in Pekanbaru on Sunday, at 7 a.m. local time, reached only a kilometer, which is the minimal safety limit for operating flights.

Based on the Air Pollution Standard Index monitoring data, the air quality over Pekanbaru City was at a moderate level despite haze shrouding the capital of Riau Province.