government finally declared a state of emergency in Riau starting on Friday following
worsening haze from forest fires in three regencies and municipalities
in the province.
haze is from forest fires in the regencies of Bengkalis and Rokan Hilir
and Dumai City.
President has instructed the National Disaster Mitigation Agency [BNPB]
to take over fire extinguishing efforts in Riau, starting on Friday,” the BNPB emergency response director Tri
Budiarto said on Friday.
agency said it had deployed two helicopters on Friday to
spray water from the air and one aircraft for cloud seeding efforts in
the burning areas, starting on Saturday.
Deputy Governor Mambang Mit added that cloud seeding efforts would be
the last solution because the conventional techniques had met difficulties
extinguishing the fires.
weather conditions, which are very dry and windy, and the locations of
fires, which are inaccessible to vehicles, have slowed efforts to put
out the fires. The only solution is cloud seeding,” he said.
said that the Riau administration was currently investigating the involvement
of some firms in the forest fires.
not deny the fact that in the previous years a number of plantation
companies made use of the dry weather to clear their areas for planting.
authorities will take strong measures against them if there is enough evidence,”
he said, adding that the legal process would be handled by the police.
the data from the Forestry Ministry, the total areas gutted by the fires
have reached 3,709 hectares in 10 out 12 regencies and municipalities in
Riau, where Rokan Hilir and Bengkalis have been the most heavily