The Jakarta Post
The National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) is preparing water-bombing aircraft to anticipate haze problems, following the emergency status declared by at least six provinces, with the dry season predicted to peak in September.
The six provinces are Riau, Jambi, South Sumatra, West Kalimantan, Central Kalimantan and South Kalimantan. September would be the peak of the dry season this year, BNPB spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said on Tuesday. As part of preemptive actions, the provinces declared the alert status earlier than last year, when Indonesia suffered its worst forest and land fires.
"Usually September is the peak of forest and land fires when more hot spots are detected," he said as quoted by kompas.com.
In order to tackle worsening forest and land fires, the BNPB has prepared eight helicopters and two aircraft for water bombing and two Cassa airplanes for artificial rain across the six provinces.
"A total of 21.7 million liters of water has been used by the water-bombing aircraft to put out forest and land fires from April 1 to present," Sutopo said.
Around 2,937 hectares of forest and land fires in Riau had been put out by ground personnel, he said. The Riau Police have named 85 people as suspects for allegedly clearing land by burning, which resulted in haze problems from January through August.
Indonesia suffers annually from forest and peatland fires resulting from slash-and-burn practices for clearing land. The worst haze crisis happened last year when at least 19 people died and 500,000 people suffered acute respiratory illnesses. (rin)
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