JAKARTA: Indonesia has detected a growing number of hotspots as intense dry weather condition continues.
In a statement on Sunday (Jul 30), the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) said satellite images from the National Institute of Aeronautics and Space (LAPAN) showed that the number of hotspots increased from 173 on Thursday to 239 on Sunday.
In the peatland areas, 126 of the hotspots were detected in the West Kalimantan province, with the majority of them in the Sintang, Kapuas Hulu and Sanggau districts.
"Clearing of land by burning is still prevalent in these areas,” said BNPB spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho. “Even though it is not allowed, appeals are often made and we conduct patrols, the reality is there are still many cases of intentional land burning."
Satellite images from the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) also showed that slight haze had spread to a number of areas in West Kalimantan.
BNPB said ground personnel - consisting of members from the military, police, and firefighter brigades - are combating the forest fires, but are facing difficulties in gaining access to the fires, with limited water and equipment. The agency added that the peak of the dry season is expected to last until September and the threat of more forest fires may increase.
Meanwhile, Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar said the forest fires that have spread in the West Aceh district for almost a week have been put out.
"But, we have asked that the team on the ground to be on standby because the fires may ignite again," she told reporters in West Sumatra on Saturday according to news portal detik.com.