4 Provinces Declare State of Emergency for Forest and Peat Land Fires

By Office of Assistant to Deputy Cabinet Secretary for State Documents & Translation
Date 21 Februari 2018
Category: News
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Monitoring of forest from above, Tuesday (20/2). (Photo by: BNPB)

Monitoring of forest from above, Tuesday (20/2). (Photo by: BNPB)

As many as four provinces in Indonesia – South Sumatera, Riau, West Kalimantan, and Central Kalimantan – have declared a state of emergency for peatland and peat land fires since early this year.

Head of Public Affairs and Information Data Center of the National Agency for Disaster Management (BNPB) Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said the emergency status was declared after several regencies/cities in those provinces declared a state of emergency for peatland and forest fires, the rising number of hotspots detected, reports from regional agencies for disaster management (BPBD), and previous experiences in handling forest and peat land fires.

“By declaring a state of emergency, we will have an easier access to containing the fires, including in deploying personnel, giving commands, preparing logistics, budget affairs, and supports from the Central Government. It will also be easier to coordinate commands in tackling the fires,” Sutopo said in a press statement on Wednesday (21/2).

According to him, regions situated around the equator such as Riau, West Kalimantan, and Central Kalimantan, have currently entered the first period of the dry season characterized with equatorial rainfall pattern.

Sutopo added that the first period of the dry season happens between mid-January until March, the rainy season is predicted between March and May, and the second period of the dry season happens between June until September.

The number of forest and peatland fires general generally increases in the second period the dry season, he said.

“This corresponds with equatorial rainfall pattern characterized with bimodal rainfall pattern (that has to peaks of the rainy season) that usually happen around March and October or during the equinox phenomenon,” Sutopo said.

The BNPB Head went on to say that the number of hotspots detected in several regions continues to increase. In the past one week in West Kalimantan Province, for example, the number of hotspots has increased and even the Province’s capital Pontianak is also enveloped with haze from forest and peatland fires.

In the meantime, data collected from Terra and Aqua and SNNP satellites in the past 24 hours on 21 February 2018 at 7.23 AM (Western Indonesian Time) shows that 90 hotspots are detected all over Indonesia.

At least 78 hotspots classified as medium type hotspots are reported in West Papua (two hotspots), West Kalimantan (23 hotspots), Riau Islands (four hotspots), Central Kalimantan (12 hotspots), West Java (14 hotspots), East Java (2 hotspots), Central Java (three hotspots), Papua (four hotspots), Maluku (two hotspots), Bangka Belitung Islands (one hotspot), Riau (nine hotspots), North Maluku (one hotspot), and South Sumatera Province (one hotspot), while twelve hotspots classified as high type hotspots – in which the forest and the peatlands are completely burned – are detected in West Kalimantan (5 hotspots), Riau Islands (two hotspots), Central Kalimantan (3 hotpots), Bangka Belitung Islands Province (1 hotspot) and Riau Province (1 hotspot).

Sutopo further said that to contain the fires, BNPB has carried out land operation, air operation, law enforcement operation, patrol and dissemination operation, health service operation, and several other measures. He added that a joint team from BPBD, the Indonesian Armed Forces (TNI), the Indonesian National Police (Polri), the Manggala Agni Fire Brigade, fire squads, personnel of public order agencies (Satpol PP), the Fire Awareness Community (Masyarakat Peduli Api), business world, and volunteers have been deployed to contain the fires.

“BNPB is also still preparing planes to be used for artificial rains and water bombing helicopters,” Sutopo said, adding that logistics aids and equipment that have already been distributed to various regional BPBD have been used to extinguish the fires. (EN/Humas BNPB/ES) (FID/JAY/ES) (EP/YM/Naster) 

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