KLHK Declares Alert Status on Forest and Land Fires in 2017

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Jakarta (Greeners) – Though forest and land fires intensity declined in 2016, Ministry of Environment and Forestry (KLHK) had instructed regional governments to declare Alert Status at the beginning of the year, said a senior official in Jakarta, on Tuesday (27/12).

“Based on our monitoring and Meteorological, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG), 2017 is predicted to be more dry and can trigger forest and land fires,” said director of forest fires control, Raffles B. Pandjaitan, predicting that it will begin in February or March.

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Furthermore, he said the ministry had maximized control and prevention over concession holders and people. Field inspections have been intensified by Fire Care People.

“Areas prone to drought are West Kalimantan and Riau, that’s why they would need to apply alert status early this year,” he said.

Based on December’s data, at least 190,000 hectares of forest and lands were burned down. The number, Pandjaitan said, was lower compare to 2.6 million hectares in 2016. In addition, hotspots have been declining by 83.12 percent and 94.55 percent according to NOAA 19 and Terra Aqua, respectively.

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Previously, Minister of Environment and Forestry Siti Nurbaya said that she was discouraged by negative views on her ministry related to forest and land fires. She said that there were comments that this year’s fires declining was due to weather condition so there were no efforts to reduce hotspots in the field.

“Rain factor is huge but hotspots don’t just disappear,” she said.

Reports by Danny Kosasih

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