LAPAN records 151 hotspots in West Kalimantan

Pontianak, West Kalimantan (ANTARA) - The National Institute of Aeronautics and Space's (LAPAN's) past 24-hour observation revealed the presence of 151 hotspots suggestive of forest fires in West Kalimantan Province, the Supadio Pontianak meteorology, climatology, and geophysics office (BMKG) stated.

The figure was obtained from data processed by Lapan from Aug 22 at 7 a.m. local time until Aug 23 at 7 a.m. local time, Erika Mardiyanti, head of the Supadio-Pontianak meteorology station, stated here, on Friday.

Of the total hotspots, 48 were spotted in Sintang District, 44 in Ketapang, 33 in Melawi, 11 in Kaluas Hulu, five in Sekadau, three each in North Kayong and Landak, and two each in Kubu Raya and Sanggau.

On Thursday alone, 81 hotspots were spotted in West Kalimantan that spread to Ketang District, reaching 30 hotspots; 14 in Sambas; 12 in Mempawah; six each in Landak and Melawi; four in Sanggau; three in Kubu Raya; two each in Sintang and Bengkayang; and one each in Sanggau and Singkawang.

In the meantime, the West Kalimantan provincial police arrested 40 people suspected of setting forest fires in 33 cases, including one corporation case.

Chief of the Indonesian Police General Tito Karnavian and Commander of the Indonesian Defense Forces (TNI) General Hadi Tjahjanto were scheduled to visit West Kalimantan on Friday to review efforts to stop and prevent forest fires.

Coordinating Political, Legal, and Security Affairs Minister Wiranto had earlier admitted to dismal law enforcement against the perpetrators of the slash and burn method triggering forest and land fires. He noted that the government will adopt a different approach to put a halt to traditional farming practices using fires.

Wiranto stated that the sanction imposed on individuals setting fires had proven ineffectual in thwarting the practice.

The minister confirmed that a stern warning had been issued to 37 corporations to stop slash and burn practices to clear land, while legal proceedings against five other companies were yet underway.

Wiranto noted that the number of hotspots this year had surpassed those of the previous years.

"The largest percentage of forest fires was caused by human activities, such as the slash and burn method, for clearing land," he stated.

Source: ANTARA News

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