Indonesia needs to be on extra alert for possible forest fires until at least November as there is a delay in this year’s dry season, said Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar on Friday (Jul 17).
Citing data from the meteorological, climatological, and geophysical agency (BMKG), Mdm Bakar said the peak of the dry season in several areas of the country is expected to begin in August and September.
In previous years, the peak of the dry season began around July and August. By October, the rainy season will arrive.
“This means, we need to work hard until October and November. This makes me uneasy. We will continue to monitor this,” the minister said.
Between Jan 1 to Jul 15 this year, the ministry noted 919 hotspots in Indonesia compared to 1,655 hotspots during the same period last year.
But it does not mean the ministry is taking the forest fires lightly, Mdm Bakar said, especially since the country is combatting COVID-19.
“COVID-19 and land and forest fires must not occur simultaneously, I’m very afraid of that,” Mdm Bakar said.
As of Friday, six provinces have declared a state of emergency, namely: Riau, Jambi, South Sumatra, West Kalimantan, Central Kalimantan and East Kalimantan.