Cyclone may fan fires in Riau

Cyclone may fan fires in Riau

JAKARTA - The Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) predicts that Riau will suffer from drier weather conditions in the next three days triggered by tropical cyclone Gillian currently forming above the Indian Ocean and in the southwestern part of Java.

The cyclone has drawn moisture away from the Riau area, it says.

BMKG spokesperson Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said low-to-high-intensity rainfalls in Riau would likely return on March 28.

"Dry weather in Riau has allowed for fire-prone hotspots, which previously had been reportedly in an overall decline, to burst into and forest fires again. Moreover, there are still a number of new burners operating in the areas," he wrote in a release made available to The Jakarta Post on Sunday.

He also wrote that although thousands of officials had been dispatched to protect the areas from land and forest burning, there were still many people carrying out illegal logging and slash-and-burn land clearing in areas across the province.

On Sunday, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) satellites recorded 12 hotspots in Riau. In Indragiri Hilir, there were three hotspots seen today, followed by Bengkalis (three), Dumai (two), Rokan Hilir (one), Meranti (one), Siak (one) and Pelalawan (one).

Meanwhile, Modis satellites detected 66 hotspots in Riau, mostly in Bengkalis. Lately, air quality in Riau has improved.

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