Alya Nurbaiti, Jakarta – Six provinces have declared siaga (alert) status for forest and land fires, National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) spokesman Raditya Jati said on Monday.
"The BNPB has asked administrations at the provincial, regency and city level to increase their preparedness against forest fires, such as by imposing emergency alert statuses," he said in a press statement on Monday.
The length of the emergency period varies among each province, located in Sumatra and Kalimantan islands, he added.
The six provinces are Riau, where forest and land fires are predicted to last from Feb. 11 to Oct. 31, South Sumatra (May 20 to Oct. 31), Jambi (June 29 to Sept. 26), West Kalimantan (July 2 to Nov. 30), Central Kalimantan (July 1 to Sept. 28) and South Kalimantan (July 1 to Nov. 30).
According to Environment and Forestry Ministry data, South Sumatra had 336,798 hectares affected by fires, while Central Kalimantan 317,749 ha, West Kalimantan 151,919 ha, South Kalimantan 137,848 ha, Riau 90,550 ha and Jambi 56,593 ha.
Raditya said prevention could be carried out if both the ground and air task forces could extinguish hot spots as soon as possible.
The BNPB has deployed a total of 6,000 personnel, with 1,000 personnel in each of the six provinces. The agency has also prepared three helicopters in Jambi for water bombing, 11 in South Sumatra, eight in Riau, one in West Kalimantan and five in Central Kalimantan.