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Jakarta Post

Riau hot spots dog Sumatra Island

  • Rizal Harahap

    The Jakarta Post

Pekanbaru   /   Wed, September 17, 2014   /  10:05 am

Haze has been reported to cover a number of regions in Riau province over the past few days as more hot spots have been detected, adding to the haze coming from the neighboring provinces of South Sumatra and Jambi.

Meteorology Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) data shows that the Terra and Aqua satellites detected 267 hot spots across Sumatra on Tuesday morning. Riau dominated the figure with 114 hot spots, or twice as many as the 51 hot spots detected on Monday.

Other provinces in Sumatra suffering from haze include South Sumatra with 70 hot spots and Jambi with 66. The agency also detected hot spots in Lampung, Bangka Belitung and Bengkulu.

In Riau, hot spots were spread through nine regencies, mostly in Pelalawan with 38 hot spots. Other hot spots were detected in Indragiri Hulu, Indragiri Hilir, Kuantan Singingi, Kampar, Bengkalis, Rokan Hilir, Siak and Meranti Islands.

'€œBased on the analysis, 45 of the hot spots are fire spots with a reliability level of 70 percent,'€ National Disaster Mitigation Agency'€™s (BNPB) data and information section head Agus Wibowo said on Tuesday.

He said the number of hot spots in Riau could continue to increase, considering that the province had hot weather and only experienced rain of light intensity, usually at night or very early in the morning.

'€œThe rain is predicted to fall only in the northern and western parts of Riau,'€ Agus said.

The increase in the number of hot spots, he said, had caused haze in a number of regions in the province and limited visibility in the mornings.

In Pekanbaru, visibility was only 1 kilometer on Tuesday morning. Poor visibility also occurred in Pelalawan and Rengat while visibility in Dumai was 5 kilometer the same day.

Dense haze resulted in delays in a number of flights from Sultan Syarif Kasim II Airport in Pekanbaru.

The airport duty manager, Baiquni, said that by Tuesday afternoon the arrival of four flights had been delayed due to limited visibility of only 1,500 meters. Of the flights, one belonged to Garuda Indonesia, two to Lion Air and one to Batik Air. All had departed from Jakarta.

'€œVisibility actually is considered safe, but the airlines took the side of caution for passenger safety,'€ Baiquni said.

Separately, the head of the Riau Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD), Said Saqlul Amri, said the agency had maintained an emergency status for forest and land fires in the province.

'€œThe coordinating post that handles forest and peatland fires at Roesmin Nurjadin Airport in Pekanbaru will continue to operate until Nov. 31,'€ he said.

He said the Riau governor had sent letters to all mayors and regents in the province to remind their respective people and companies to actively participate in preventive measures and to quickly respond when a fire was found, no matter how small it was.

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