Pekanbaru, Riau (ANTARA News) - The Riau provincial government has declared a three-month emergency standby status over land and forest fires, following the escalation of peat land fires.
The acting governor of Riau province, Wan Thamrin Hasyim, announced the emergency standby status during a coordination meeting attended by representatives of the police, military, local legislative council, State Intelligence Agency (BIN) of the Riau chapter, the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) office and companies.
The emergency alert status will take effect from Feb 19 to May 31, 2018, he stated here Monday.
He ordered the immediate activation of land and forest fire control task force (Satgas Karhutla) to be led by commander of the Wira Bima district military command 031.
"The step to set the emergency standby status, followed by the creation of land and forest fire control task force, is aimed at ensuring that the forest fire control could be conducted effectively, integratedly, and efficiently," he remarked.
Chief of the Riau Provincial Natural Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD), Edwar Sanger, noted that the number of hotspots and land and forest fires increased significantly early in 2018.
Since January, an estimated 549 hectares of land, with 59 hotspots, have caught fire. Nearly 211.5 hectares of the land were found in Meranti district and 121.5 hectares were found in Indragiri Hulu district.
"Compared to the same month last year, the area of burned land increased 25 percent, and the number of hotspots rose 90 percent," he revealed.
Source: ANTARA News