Hreeloita DS, Nabil Ihsan, Jakarta – The National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) has reported that, based on data collected from June 17 to July 17, 2023, it has identified 490 hotspots in Jambi province that could potentially trigger forest and peatland fires.
BNPB head Suharyanto said that in light of the findings, all stakeholders should bolster vigilance despite the Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) predicting that this year's El Nino will not be as severe as the one witnessed in 2015 or 2019.
"(President Joko Widodo) also instructed us to ensure water availability, either for forest fire and drought handling or for the people's needs, during the El Nino period," the agency head informed while presiding over a forest fire handling coordination meeting on Tuesday (July 18).
In a statement received here on Wednesday, he affirmed that BNPB will continue conducting weather modification operations to prevent forest fires and fulfill the people's needs in case of drought.
"Ensure water availability in reservoirs lest we have no water while attempting water bombing operation," Suharyanto stressed.
The agency head said that BNPB will only conduct aerial waterbombing at fire spots that are difficult to access by land, and if the fire is still minor.
Hence, Jambi provincial authority should prioritize forest fire prevention rather than depend on aerial operations, he said.
"I also emphasize that there will also be zero tolerance against those who clear land using fire," he added.
During his visit to Jambi, Suharyanto symbolically handed over equipment to support forest fire handling operations in the region. BNPB has also deployed two patrol helicopters and three choppers for waterbombing in Jambi.
"Besides Jambi, all provinces prioritized for (forest fire) handling have received helicopter support for aerial operations. In total, choppers deployed by BNPB are 30 units for 6 provinces," he informed.