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Jakarta Post

Land, forest fires fact of life in seven provinces

  • A. Muh. Ibnu Aqil

    Jakarta

Jakarta   /   Thu, September 17 2020   /  01:00 am
This picture taken on September 23, 2019 shows Indonesian firefighters battling a peatland forest fire in Ogan Ilir, South Sumatra. - The blazes have been spewing toxic haze across Southeast Asia, forcing the closure of schools and airports, and prompting Jakarta to deploy thousands of personnel to tackle them. (AFP/Abdul Qodir)

Land and forest fires have been a fact of life in seven provinces across Indonesia for decades. But activists warn that new epicenters of forest fires may emerge in addition to the seven provinces. Data from the Modis imaging sensor of the Terra and Aqua satellites compiled by environmental group Auriga Nusantara between 2001 and 2019 show that land and forest fires regularly occurred in seven provinces -- Riau, Jambi, South Sumatra, West Kalimantan, South Kalimantan, Central Kalimantan and Papua. These fires were mostly triggered by land clearance using the slash-and-burn technique and by dried up peatland, and exacerbated by dry seasons. Each year, forest fires in Indonesia often started in Riau in January. In the province, fires mostly receded in March, before the second wave came -- usually between May and September. Forest fires usually hit West Kalimantan between June and ...