Indonesia prepares for forest fires due to El Nino

Indonesia prepares for forest fires due to El Nino

Coordinating People's Welfare Miniser Agung Laksono said the government had prepared several strategies to battle forest fires, anticipating the effects of a severe drought that may be sparked by the weather phenomenon of El Niño.

Agung said that August and September would be the peak period for potential forest fires, which he claimed would also be triggered by "rogue" crude palm oil (CPO) plantations that burn forests to prepare lands for their crops.

"Some of the strategies that we have prepared include cloud-seeding and the provision of fire-fighting aircrafts," Agung said on Tuesday, as quoted by tempo.co.

According to a June 22 assessment by the United States' National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) satellite in Indonesia, 60 out of the total 120 hotspots Sumatra were located in Riau province, while there were 24 and 23 in North Sumatra and Aceh provinces, respectively.

The assessment also identified hotspots in Jambi, West Sumatra, West Kalimantan, Central Kalimantan, North Sulawesi and South Sulawesi.

Previously, National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) spokesperson Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said that the agency had been allocated Rp 355 billion (S$37.5 million) from the state budget to fund helicopters and water bombers to fight forest fires and haze in 2014.

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