Riau named Asean Center for Forest, Land fire control, Management
14 February 2006
published by Antara News
Pekanbaru, Riau — Riau in general and Pekanbaru in particular have been named an ASEAN forest and land fire control center, Riau environmental impact monitoring body (Bapedalda) head Khairul Zainal said here Tuesday (2/14).
The news that Riau had been named a forest and land fire controlling center was conveyed by the Indonesian Environmental Ministry recently, he said.
The decision to name the Indonesian province a center to monitor forest and land fires would hopefully reduce the frequency of forest fires which were happening almost every year, he said.
ASEAN member countries, he said, would provide the equipment needed by the center while Riau would designate an area where the offices of the center would be built. Forest fires that occur annually in Indonesian islands always disrupt flights in some ASEAN member states.
Meanwhile, previous reports said a thick cloud of smoke is threatening Riau at present as Bapedalda has detected some 400 hot spots in the province since January 2006.
Zainal said here on Monday the 400 hot spots were located in all districts and towns in the province, but most of them were to be found in Rokan Hilir district . “There are 137 hot spots in that district,” he added.
He warned people in all districts and towns in Riau to make preparations to anticipate the worsening of pollution brought by the thick cloud created by forest conflagrations.
The early arrival of the dry season and an expected prolonged drought would speed up the spread of hot spots, though according to latest reports the number of hot spots has gone down due to heavy rain fall in the last two days.
Khairul also suggested that every district and town in Riau should set up a rapid-reaction team so that every emerging hot spot can be eliminated as soon aspossible.
He said the formation of a rapid-reaction team was the most effective step to avoid an increase in the number of hotspots.