Indonesia deploys 3,500 personnel to fight forest fires in West Kalimantan

A city fire fighter sprays water on a peat land fire on the outskirts of Pontianak, West Kalimantan.
A city fire fighter sprays water on a peat land fire on the outskirts of Pontianak, West Kalimantan.PHOTO: REUTERS

JAKARTA (THE JAKARTA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Indonesia's national Disaster Management Agency has deployed 3,500 personnel to fight forest and plantation fires in West Kalimantan.

The agency's spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said the personnel would focus on containing fires in Kubu Raya, Mempawah, Landak, Bengkayang, Sanggau, Sekadau, Sintang, Melawi, Kapuas Hulu and Kayong Utara regencies.

"We are facing huge challenges on the field, among other things, the bad habit of burning forests to clear them for farming," Sutopo was quoted by Antara news agency on Monday (Sept 12).

Aside from that, the agency is facing a water shortage to put out the fires through water bombing activities.

According to him, the agency had also detected new hot spots "since many people are burning land during the day."

He lamented that some regencies, including Ketapang and Sambas, had yet to raise their emergency statuses despite the increasing number of hot spots detected in their respective areas.