JAKARTA (THE JAKARTA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) – The government seeks to double down on peatland fire prevention and law enforcement following the massive fires that ravaged much of Indonesia’s forests last year.
As we enter the dry season, Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya said the ministry has been creating artificial rain to prevent peatland fires in several fire-prone areas, with the help of the Agency for the Assessment and Application of Technology (BPPT) and the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG).
The artificial rain has allowed Riau, Jambi and South Sumatra to overcome their “first critical phase” of land and forest fires from March to early June this year, she said.
The BMKG estimates that the 2020 drought season will start in June and peak in August, warning that dry conditions will typically induce hot spots.
”We are usually rather worried about the weather development in June or during Lebaran (Idul Fitri). We are now a little relieved but we need to remain alert for the second critical phase at the peak of the dry season in August. All relevant parties must increase their vigilance,” Ms Siti said in a press statement on Monday (June 15).
Observers have cautioned against lax prevention efforts by a government already overwhelmed by the Covid-19 pandemic response, ahead of another potential bout of forest and peatland fires during the current dry season.