The National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) on Sunday reported that the number of fire spots detected in Sumatra had continued to expand due to limited rainfalls.
Based on the results of Modis satellite monitoring activities on Sunday, as many as 207 fire spots were detected in Sumatra, 71 of which were in Riau. Out of these 71 fire spots, 24 were recorded in Pelalawan, followed by 18 in Rokan Hilir, nine in Bengkalis, six in Indragiri Hilir, five in Dumai and three in both Siak and Indragiri Hulu. The Three areas of Meranti, Kampar and Kuansing each reported on fire spot.
BNPB spokesperson Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said growing fire spots in Sumatra, especially in Riau, were triggered by increases in burned land areas.
"Currently, 142 hectares of land in Sumatra have been burned. A joint team comprising personnel from the Indonesian Military, National Police, Regional Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD) and the fire fighting team Manggala Agni as well as volunteers have managed to extinguish fires only in 69 hectares of the total land," said Sutopo.
He said the fires were triggered by the clearing of land using slash-and-burn techniques.
Sutopo said a joint team consisting of the Agency for the Assessment and Application of Technology (BPPT), BNPB and the Indonesian Air Force had attempted to make artificial rain since Monday but all attempts had failed due to the absence of potential clouds upon which they could place NaCl to cause rain.
He said that the joint team did not carry out cloud seedling activities on Friday and Saturday.
In the sixth day of their efforts to create artificial rain, the team had made four flights using a CN 295 aircraft and had spread 9.2 tons of NaCl from 11,000 to 13,000 feet above Riau.
Sutopo said that based on the pattern of fire spots during the period of 2006-2014 in Sumatra and Kalimantan, the number of fire spots would continue to increase until October. Fire spots would peak in September, he added.
"All elements of society, including government officials, local administration, business players and local people should always anticipate land and forest fires," said Sutopo.