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Jakarta Post

West Kalimantan readies 4 choppers for water bombing

  • Severianus Endi

    The Jakarta Post

Pontianak, West Kalimantan   /   Tue, July 25, 2017   /   03:30 pm
West Kalimantan readies 4 choppers for water bombing All ready: A helicopter prepared by the West Kalimantan administration is ready to carry out water bombing operations to anticipate a haze disaster from land and forest fires in the upcoming dry season. (Courtesy of the West Kalimantan Disaster Mitigation Agency/File)

Authorities in West Kalimantan have prepared four helicopters for water bombing operations as the dry season, predicted to take place from August to October, has the potential to trigger land and forest fires, which may lead to a haze disaster.  

Mega Fitriyawita, a forecaster with the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) in Pontianak, West Kalimantan, told The Jakarta Post on Tuesday that radars in several locations had begun to detect a number of hot spots.

On Sunday, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) satellites detected seven hot spots in four out of 14 regencies and municipalities across West Kalimantan. On Monday, the number of hot spots increased to 23, which spread in seven regencies, according to the Modis sensor satellites.

In May, local authorities announced an emergency alert status to handle a haze disaster caused by land and forest fires. The status will take effect until October.

West Kalimantan Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD) head TTA Nyarong said the province’s administration had anticipated the condition by preparing four helicopters for water bombing operations, and by activating disaster mitigation command posts in several disaster-prone areas.

Peatlands with the highest burning potential are spread across 174 out of 2,031 villages in 14 regencies and municipalities across West Kalimantan. Mappings show that two regencies have the highest number of villages prone to land and forest fires.

“They are Ketapang, which has 45 fire-prone villages, and Sintang with 34 villages. Other regencies have up to18 villages [prone to land and forest fires]," Nyarong said. (afr/ebf)