The Jakarta Post
A spell of unusual heat in Riau has seen the number of hot spots rise from zero to 55 in only two days, according to official data.
The Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) said on Sunday that the hot spots were spread out across eight municipalities of the province. The regency of Rokan Hilir recorded the highest number with 33 hot spots, while Bengkalis, Siak and Pelalawan recorded eight, six and three hot spots, respectively. Rokan Hulu, Dumai, the Meranti Islands and Kuantan Singingi each had one hot spot.
“Thirty-two of the 55 hot spots have a level of certainty above 70 percent, meaning there are ongoing fires in the forests there,” Pekanbaru BMKG head Sukisno said, adding that the hot spots began to emerge on Saturday afternoon.
Hot spots across the entire island of Sumatra have increased from just two on Saturday morning to 120 by Sunday morning, including in Aceh, North Sumatra, West Sumatra, Riau, Jambi, South Sumatra, Lampung and Bangka Belitung--with Riau recording the most hot spots.
Separately, National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) secretary-general Dody Ruswandi said the agency had deployed six helicopters to fight fires in Riau through water bombing. Ten more helicopters were used to eliminate fires in other provinces of Sumatra, including Jambi and South Sumatra.
Authorities across Sumatra are working hard to prevent hot spots from escalating into conflagrations that could disrupt the Asian Games, the opening ceremony of which will be held on Aug. 18 in Jakarta and Palembang, South Sumatra. (vny)