RI-US forest-fire-fighting exercise proceeds under haze

RI-US forest-fire-fighting exercise proceeds under haze

30 July 2009

published by www.antara.co.id

USA/Indonesia —

Haze again covered Riau province while Indonesia and the United States were holding a joint forest fire extinguishing exercise at Pasir Putih square, Kampar District, Riau, on Thursday.

However, the haze produced by forest and plantation fires in the province would not affect the implementation of the joint exercise, operational division chief of the Wira Bima district military command , Lt Col Ayi Supriatna said here on Thursday.

“The simulation has been running well since the morning until 11 am local time,” he said.

The exercise was organized by the Indonesian Military head quarters (Mabes TNI) and the United States Pacific Command (US Pacom).

Some 13 personnel of the US Pacom and hundreds of others from the Riau administration and related government institutions joined the forest and plantation fire extinguishing exercise. A number of Singapore and Thai military personnel were also present as observers.

The joint fire extinguishing exercise involved three helicopters and a number of fire trucks, he said.

Riau was chosen for the exercise because forest fires, especially in peat land areas often happen in the region, he pointed out.

Prior to the joint exercise, a workshop aimed to share experiences in overcoming forest fire between the Indonesian military and the U.S. Pacom was held here on July 27-28, 2009.

Since early Thursday, Riau Province has been covered by quite thick haze which reduced the visibility to one km.

Based on the NOAA Satellite 18 monitoring, there were 74 hotspots detected in Riau, said Rahmat Tauladani of the Sultan Syarif Kasim (SSK) II airport`s meteorological, climatological, and geophysics (BMKG) office, here on Thursday.

The hotspots were detected in Bengkalis (five hotspots), Siak (three), Pelalawan (33), Indragiri Hulu (22), Indragiri Hilir (eight), and Kuantan Singingi (three).

The Pekanbaru BMKG office predicted that forest and plantation fires also occurred in South Sumatra and Jambi.

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