The Jakarta Post
The Riau Police say they are committed to enforcing the laws against land burners and since the beginning of January have arrested 79 suspects.
“The suspects have been handled in 10 police precincts,” Adj. Sr. Comr. Hariwiyawan of the Riau Police’s general crime investigation directorate told The Jakarta Post on Thursday.
He said land burned by the suspects totaled 380,485 hectares. “Most of the suspects were arrested red-handed clearing land using slash and burn methods. It was suspected they intentionally burned the land to open new plantations,” said Hariwiyawan.
Land and forest fires have continued to expand and Riau still has the highest number of hot spots in Sumatra. Local administrations reportedly have been overwhelmed by the rapidly growing hot spots.
On Thursday, 54 hot spots reportedly sprang up in Sumatra. Riau became the biggest contributor with 29. “Nine hot spots were identified in South Sumatra, followed by North Sumatra [with eight], West Sumatra [five], Jambi [two] and the Riau Islands with one hot spot,” said Sugarin, the head of the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) Pekanbaru.
In Riau, hot spots have spread in eight out of 12 regencies and cities in the province. Pelalawan recorded eight hot spots, followed by Dumai and Bengkalis, which identified five hot spots each. Kampar detected four hot spots while Siak saw three hot spots. Meanwhile, Meranti Islands reported two hot spots, followed by Rokan Hulu and Indragiri Hulu, which recorded one hot spot each.
“Of the total, 13 hot spots are indicated as fire spots with a trust level of more than 70 percent,” said Sugarin. (ebf)