Indonesia's environment minister proposes meeting to tackle forest fires

Indonesia's environment minister proposes meeting to tackle forest fires

An Indonesian firefighter puts out a fire on smouldering peatland in Siak Regency located in Riau province in Indonesia's Sumatra island. (Photo: AFP)

JAKARTA: Indonesia may soon hold a coordination meeting to tackle the forest fires in various parts of the country, according to Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar.

Local news portal detik.com quoted Siti Nurbaya as saying she proposed the meeting to President Joko Widodo after meeting him at the Presidential Palace on Monday (Aug 7).

"I will follow this up with the Cabinet Secretary,” she said. “I will immediately send out the letters to ask for a coordination meeting with all the heads of districts, especially in the fire-prone areas."

Authorities have detected an increase in the number of hotspots in Indonesia's eastern most province of Papua. The National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) said satellite images on Monday showed 93 hotspots in Papua, up from just seven the day before.

In a statement on Monday, BNPB said most of the forest fires occurred in the regencies of Merauke and Mappi.

Across Indonesia, a total of 158 hotspots were detected on Monday, down from 282 on Sunday. A substantial decrease in hotspots in fire-prone provinces like South Sumatra and Riau was also recorded.

There were only two hotspots in South Sumatra recorded on Monday, down from 23 on Sunday, while in Riau 1 hotspots was counted – down from 16 the day before.

"The number of hotspots from forest fires continue to fluctuate. Rain and firefighting efforts in Sumatra and Kalimantan have helped reduce the hotspots," said BNPB's spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho.

Source: CNA/ek

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