KLHK Intensify Forest Fires Prevention Ahead of 2018 Asian Games

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Ilustration. Photo: pxhere.com

Jakarta (Greeners) – Approaching dry season and the 2018 Asian Games in Palembang and Jakarta, which will be held on August to September, Ministry of Environment and Forestry (KLHK) steps up on forest and land fires control, said Minister of Environment and Forestry, Siti Nurbaya Bakar, in Jakarta, on Monday (25/6/2018) adding that Manggala Agni, the ministry’s fire fighters, as the anchor on the effort.

“We have been intensively monitoring for this forest and land forests. I have been checking hotspots from morning to afternoon. I also monitor reliable agencies and coordination system to make this forest and land fires easy to handle. But, the bottom line is that we manage to tackle forest and land fires for the past two years,” she said.

Based on a ministerial decision letter issued in 2018, the ministry is stipulated to form a working team to clarify permits on areas burned down, establishes crisis center, form a working team on regional, and dispatch Manggala Agni personnel and their equipment to critical areas.

Furthermore, Minister Siti said she had instructed senior officials to give special attentions to Aceh, North Sumatra, West Sumatra, East Kalimantan, South Sulawesi, especially Luwu district, and Central Sulawesi, especially Morowali district and Papua, especially Merauke district.

“Ministry of Environment and Forestry has established posts in regional levels closer to hot spot and people. Air quality parameter is the important information to discover the weather condition, so we must monitor every day in posts on areas prone to forest and land fires,” she said.

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Based on ministry’s data, forest fires reduced for 34.07 percent in 2017 compare to fires in 2016 and in 2015 which spiked to 88.23 percent. Hotspots decreasing between 2015 and 2017 are 21,929 in 2015, 3,915 in 2016, and 2,581 in 2017. Meanwhile, emissions from peat fires was 12.5 million tons CO2e in 2017 or 1.56 percent in 2015.

“In addition, we also prepare 18 airplanes in Riau, South Sumatra, West Sumatra, as higher hotspots to 115 percent compare last year in the three locations,” she said. “There are provinces with hotspots, such as Aceh, North Sumatra, and East Nusa Tenggara.”

Director of Forest and Land Fires Control, Raffles B. Panjaitan, said that 16 hot spot recorded in North Sumatra from January to June 8, 2018, by NOAA satellite, meanwhile 14 hotspots recorded by TERRA/AQUA (NASA).

“This condition must be monitored to reduce fires potential especially leading up to 2018 Asian Games in Palembang. Besides North Sumatra, other areas such as Riau, Jambi and North Sumatra must be prepared to prevent smokes. We will work together to make the 2018 Asian Games, free of smoke,” said Panjaitan.

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Furthermore, he said that integrated patrols in areas prone to forest and land fires are effective and ensured regional elections did not lower the anticipation to prevent the fires.

In addition, the ministry also prepare human resources and fire fighting facilities since 2018 for Riau, North Sumatra, West Kalimantan, Central Kalimantan and South Kalimantan.

“All personal had been dispatched to patrol, field check on hotspots, and early fire fighting, consultation and rising awareness, People Fire Care and facilities,” he said.

Reports by Dewi Purningsih