No more hot spots in Riau, says Indonesia

Indonesian Police Chief General Tito Karnavian (left) and staff examine land and forest fires.
Indonesian Police Chief General Tito Karnavian (left) and staff examine land and forest fires. PHOTO: AFP

Indonesian firefighters have successfully put out all the land and forest fires raging in Riau province on the island of Sumatra, said the country's Disaster Management Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho.

He said satellites detected 156 hot spots across the country yesterday, but there were "no hot spots in Riau". This restored visibility and air quality in the region to a "good level".

"The land and forest fires which had previously emerged in Riau region have been extinguished," he said. "Satellite observations and aerial patrols did not show any burning. Thin smoke was still rising from the burned locations previously."

  • 156

    Number of hot spots detected yesterday across Indonesia

  • 576

    Number of people arrested this year for starting illegal fires

Dr Sutopo said the government has been working continuously to subdue the blazes, leading to "encouraging results" and a "significant" drop in the number of hot spots.

Seven aircraft are carrying out water-bombing and cloud-seeding operations, while firefighters on the ground are continuing to spray water over the burnt peatland.

Patrols have also been intensified in residential areas, forests and farms.

In West Kalimantan, 48 hot spots were detected, mostly from land-clearing activities, but the condition is "generally good".

Dr Sutopo said the authorities have arrested 576 people this year who are suspected of starting fires illegally, adding: "This is the challenge on the field. People are still burning the land."

Arlina Arshad

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 01, 2016, with the headline 'No more hot spots in Riau, says Indonesia'. Print Edition | Subscribe