Indonesia:Drought may cause forest fires (published by The Jakarta Post)

14August 2003

Drought may cause forest fires

The Jakarta Post, 14 August 2003

Jakarta — An academic has refuted the forestry ministry’s claim that forest fires will not break out this year. Bambang Hero Saharjo of the Bogor Institute of Agriculture said on Wednesday that smoke had been observed in several forests in Riau, Jambi and some parts of Kalimantan. “The current drought and the authority’s failure to be consistent in preventing possible fires is the best combination to spread forests fire like those that occurred in May,” he warned. Hermono Sigit of the office of the state minister for the environment confirmed that there are currently 85 hot spots, mostly in Kalimantan and Sumatra. “The most important thing is that the fire does not occur in forests with thick peat moss,” he said. Indonesia suffered widespread forest fires in May and June, causing neighboring countries of Singapore and Malaysia to be blanketed by haze for days. The Singapore Meteorological Center (SMC), however, has predicted that normal weather will prevail in the remaining months of this year.



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