Ministry deploys personnel, planes to help extinguish forest fires

Ministry deploys personnel, planes to help extinguish forest fires

16 September 2011

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Indonesia — The forestry ministry has mobilized personnel and three planes to help extinguish forest fires on Sumatra Island.

Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan said here recently the planes were needed for cloud seeding because many of the hot spots were not accessible as they were located in remote areas.

Around 2,000 hot spots were detected on Sumatra, including in South Sumatra, Jambi and Riau, the minister said.

“There are 2,000 hot spots in Sumatra alone. The forest fires, however, have caused haze disturbing the people and air traffic,” he said after launching an online monitoring of one billion tree planting program.

He criticized people who habitually cleared land by igniting fires because they consider it as being the cheapest way of doing it.

Of the country`s total number of hot spots, around 80 percent occurred in agricultural areas and only 20 percent in forests, he said.

“Most of the hot spots are located in agricultural areas, only 10 percent is to be found in forest areas,” he said.

According to the forestry ministry`s data obtained from NOAA 18 Satellite, there were 22,120 hot spots throughout Indonesia from January to September 12, 2011. Last year, there were a total of 9,880 hot spots in Indonesia.

This year, the hot spots have been found among other things in West Kalimantan (4,105 hot spots), Riau (3,208), South Sumatra (3,340), Central Kalimantan (2,778), Jambi (1,305), and North Sumatra (795).

In 2010, the ministry recorded 1,785 hot spots in West Kalimantan, 1,707 in Riau, 1,481 in South Sumatra, 831 Central Kalimantan, 603 in Jambi, and 530 hot spots in North Sumatra.

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