JAKARTA – A special fire fighting team has been ordered to work round the clock to
monitor forest fires at 74 hotspots in the Riau province, Sumatra.
The forest fires, and in oil palm plantations, are reported to have affected
neighbouring Malaysia, causing the air quality in several states to deteriorate.
Riau police chief Supriyanto was reported by the local media as saying that
the special team, consisting of firemen, police, the army and navy, had been
able to control the fire at 50 hotspots and working to control the fire at other
They included in Bengkalis, Kotamadya Dumai, Meranti Island, Pelalawan,
Rokan Hulu and Siak.
He said various ways, including water bombing, were used by the team to
fight the fire.
Meanwhile, the Indonesian Agency for Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics
(BMKG), on its website www.bmkg.go.id , stated that the Air Pollutant Index
(API) reading in Pekan Baru, Riau and Pontianak in Kalimantan this morning was
Indonesian President Joko Widodo recently ordered the special team set up by
the government to tackle the forest fires expeditiously and effectively to avoid
a serious haze problem like what happened last year.
Stern action had also been taken by the Indonesian government to address the
problem, like catching and prosecuting those responsible for starting the forest
Malaysia is among countries worst affected by the forest fires in Indonesia
last year, resulting in the closure of schools when the air quality dropped to
very unhealthy level. – Bernama