TEMPO.CO, Pekanbaru - The Meteorological, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) has detected 28 hotspots, indicating forest and plantation fires, in four provinces located on Sumatra Island on Tuesday.
The hotspots were found in Aceh, North Sumatra, Riau, and Lampung provinces, Slamet Riyadi, head of the data section of the Pekanbaru meteorology station, said on Tuesday.
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Aceh has 14 hotspots, North Sumatra has seven, Riau has four, and Lampung has three, he stated.
In Riau Province, the hotspots were detected in Pelalawan District (two hotspots), and in Indragiri Hulu and Indragiri Hilir, one hotspot was detected each.
Read also: Riau BMKG Records 12 Hotspots
"Of the four hotspots in Riau Province, one has been confirmed as forest fire," he revealed.
The wildfire is located in Kuala Kampar sub-district. The Riau disaster mitigation office tried to trace the fire by using a helicopter.
The office was ready to deploy five helicopters to drop water bombs to put out the fire.
The Riau authorities have extended the forest fire emergency status from April 30 to November 2017 to enable utmost efforts to prevent forest fires from spreading to wider areas.
Five helicopters, namely MI-171, MI-172, MI-8, and S-61, have been in standby at Roesmin Nurjadin Air Force base in Pekanbaru to support the fight against forest fires.
Last year, Indonesia was relatively free from haze from forest fires thanks to joint efforts involving military officers to prevent and put out the fires.
Based on monitoring data of the NOAA satellite, the number of hotspots in 2016 had decreased by 82.14 percent compared to that in 2015, while the Terra and Aqua satellites showed a drop of 94.58 percent.
Currently, Indonesia is bracing for forest and plantation fires, as the country is forecast to experience drought from June to October this year that could induce wildfires.
Despite the country being relatively free of haze and smog arising from forest fires last year, President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has urged all stakeholders to undertake early preventive measures against wildfires.
The head of state has reminded ministers and regional authorities to remain vigilant against forest fires starting from early this year.