Antara, Jakarta – The Ministry of Environment and Forestry reported that wildfires engulfed 994,313 hectares of land from January to October 2023.
"Majority of the areas burned were the open lands, meaning they were intended to be utilized by residents so studies and solutions are needed," said Minister of Environment and Forestry Siti Nurbaya Bakar in a statement quoted in Jakarta on Wednesday, November 15, 2023.
According to the ministry, from the total areas caught by wildfires, only 66,287 hectares equivalent to 7 percent were forest areas, while the rest 93 percent, or 928,025 were non-forest areas.
South Kalimantan recorded the widest non-forest areas engulfed in flames with 186,186 hectares, followed by Central Kalimantan with 112,917 hectares, South Sumatra with 106,628 hectares, Papua with 97,555 hectares, and West Kalimantan with 99,121 hectares.
Meanwhile, provinces with the biggest forest areas burned are East Java with 26,326 hectares, followed by NTT with 10,461 hectares, South Papua with 4,469 hectares, Central Java with 4,300 hectares, South Sumatra with 2,832 hectares and East Kalimantan with 2,509 hectares.
The ministry also reported that the majority of the wildfires occurred on non-peatlands with 839,883 hectares, while the rest 154,429 hectares occurred on peatlands.
"In 2015, 34 percent of peatlands caught fire while only 16 percent of peatlands were burned in 2023," she said.
The highest non-peatlands fire occurrence this year happened in South Kalimantan with 180,113 hectares, NTT with 99,047 hectares, South Papua with 97,913 hectares, and Central Kalimantan with 65,924 hectares.
On the other hand, the highest peatlands fire occurrence happened in Central Kalimantan with 48,651 hectares, South Sumatra with 48,594 hectares, West Kalimantan with 31,427 hectares, South Kalimantan with 7,460 hectares, and East Kalimantan with 6,107 hectares.
According to Minister Siti, Indonesia recorded significantly smaller wildfires compared to other countries, such as Canada with 18.5 million hectares of land burned, Brazil with 3.6 million hectares, the US with 2.4 million hectares and Siberia with 1.2 million hectares.
"Indonesia so far recorded 900,000 hectares but my estimation is it will exceed i million hectares for the rest of the year," she concluded.