More hotspots, haze in Riau

Hotspots and haze have reappeared in some parts of Riau after rain hit the province in the past week.

As of Tuesday, the Terra and Aqua satellites detected 187 hotspots across Sumatra, 163 of which were seen in Riau. The 163 hotspots in Riau were found in the Meranti Islands, Rokan Hilir, Dumai, Siak, Pelalawan and Indragiri Hilir.

"Riau is now facing dry conditions due to tropical cyclone Gillian in the Indian Ocean and southern Java," National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) data division head Agus Wibowo said in Pekanbaru on Tuesday.

In Pekanbaru, thin haze blanketed the city and reduced visibility to 2,000 meters. Residents have sensed the change, urging the administration to immediately handle the situation before it gets worse.

Meanwhile, Col. B. Robert of the Riau Haze Mitigation Task Force said teams had been deployed to Dumai, Rokan Hilir, Kampar and Bengkalis to conduct water bombing in the areas.

He said the BNPB, along with the Agency for the Assessment and Application of Technology (BPPT), would use weather modification technology if necessary.

Fires have engulfed 20,067 hectares of forest and land in Riau. As of Tuesday, Riau Police named 90 suspects in forest and peatland fires, Riau Police spokesman Adj. Sr. Comr. Aryo Tejo reported.