INDONESIA – Palembang, S Sumatra (ANTARA) – South Sumatra police have dispatched 159 officers to support the preventive and mitigation efforts of the province’s land and forest fire task force to curb wild fires in five districts during this year’s dry season.
The personnel have been placed at police precincts in Musi Banyuasin, Banyuasin, Ogan Ilir, Ogan Komering Ilir, and Pali districts to assist in land and forest fire-related prevention efforts, South Sumatra Police spokesperson, Sen.Coms.Supriadi, said.
In the past, land and forest fires in South Sumatra have been closely linked to slash-and-burn farming practices, he told local journalists here on Tuesday.
Slash-and-burn practices have been banned in farmland and plantation areas during the dry season because they cause great material losses and pose serious threats to flora and fauna, he added.
The security and law enforcement agencies’ involvement in wild fire-related prevention and mitigation efforts has been evident over the past few years.
In 2019, the Indonesian military had joined efforts to halt the recurrence of land and forest fires in South Sumatra during the dry season by regularly conducting public awareness campaigns in several districts.
For instance, campaigns regarding the importance of taking precautionary measures were conducted in districts such as Banyuasin and Ogan Komering Ilir, chief of the 044/Garuda Dempo Military Resort Command, Major Binsar J Simanjuntak, said.
Precautionary measures were also taken by the land and forest fire task force by monitoring vulnerable areas. The same preventive measures were also undertaken by the Banyuasin district military command.
Over the past years, South Sumatra and several other provinces in Indonesia’s Sumatra Island have been repeatedly challenged and threatened by haze, triggered by land and forest fires.
Considering this challenging reality, South Sumatra police have warned plantation companies and farmers in the province against using slash-and-burn farming methods during the dry season.
ANTARA has earlier reported that the smog produced by land and forest fires poses a problem for neighboring countries because it potentially threatens people’s health and aviation activities. (INE)