President Warns About Future Forest Fires, Calls For Better Prevention

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Markus Wisnu Murti

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  • President Joko Widodo inspects the location of forest and land fires in Merbau village, Bunut district, Pelalawan regency, Pekanbaru city, September 17, 2019. Photo: Laily Rachev - Presidential Secretariat Press Bureau

    President Joko Widodo inspects the location of forest and land fires in Merbau village, Bunut district, Pelalawan regency, Pekanbaru city, September 17, 2019. Photo: Laily Rachev - Presidential Secretariat Press Bureau

    TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo on Monday’s 2021 meeting on the handling of land and forest fires warned about the dangers of such situations as he said meteorology institutions forecast May was the transitional period from the rain to dry season. 

    He asserted that massive attempts to prevent land and forest fires must be commenced nationwide. 

    “I received reports that forests and land fires have emerged in January. Riau recorded 29 instances. The Governor of Riau must be careful about this, don’t let another one emerge,” said the President at the State Palace on February 22. “There were also 52 times this has happened in West Kalimantan.”

    Moreover, forest fires also emerged in other provinces, though not as frequent as the two aforementioned regions. The President reported that wildfires happened in Aceh (3), North Sumatra (9), Riau Islands (4), Jambi (2), South Sumatra (5), Central Kalimantan (12), Southeast Sulawesi (20), and Papua (1). 

    He recalled the difficulties he had to put up with in his trip to Pekanbaru and Pulangpisau in Central Kalimantan back in 2015 where he had to travel on land for a lengthy amount of time due to the haze that cancelled air travel. 

    “Don’t let that happen again,” Jokowi said. 

    President Jokowi claimed that 99 percent of land and forest fires were caused by human intervention because many believed it was the most affordable alternative to cleaning land areas.  “Because 99 percent are man-made, either intentionally or unitentionally due to negligence. And the motive is mainly economy.”

    Read: 500 Medical Workers Send Open Letter to Jokowi on Forest Fires 

    DEWI NURITA