Indonesia wets peat lands to ward off forest fires

22 May 2020

Published by https://www.thestar.com.my

INDONESIA – JAKARTA (Xinhua): Indonesia’s western province of Riau has used artificial to wet peat lands to reduce the threat of forest fires that are expected during the dry season next month, an official said on Thursday (May 21).

Indonesia has been creating artificial rain in the main islands of Sumatra and Kalimatan which frequently withstand ravages due to bush and forest fires, especially during the dry season, that have sent thick smokes to neighboring countries causing respiratory problems and huge financial losses.

The Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency forecast that the drought would peak from June to August this year.

“This weather modification is part of preventive strides which take advantage of clouds that highly contain waters,” the Environment and Forestry Ministry’s Fire Control Director Basar Manullang said.

“With sufficient water supplies in canals and reservoirs, and watered peat land, the threat of forest fires can fade,” he said in a statement received by Xinhua.

The weather modification has commenced since May 14 and is expected to end on May 28, the director said, adding that the satellite image has so far showed that 17.1 million cubic of waters have poured down the districts of Begkalis, Siak and Meranti during the artificial rains.

“The amount of the waters is sufficient to raise the level of water content at peat land from a dangerous level to a safe level,” he reckoned.

The director further said that firefighters would take advantages of the sufficient water supplies in the reservoirs if forest fires take place.

Meanwhile, the ministry’s Director General for the Climate Change Ruandha Agung Sugardiman said after the measures taken in Riau province, the strides would persist to the province of Jambi in Sumatra Island, and some provinces in Kalimantan Island.

After being ravaged by a series of forest and bush fires, the government has made a policy on efforts to prevent the potential of such a catastrophe from recurring. – Xinhua

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