In Indonesia’s forest fire capital, the dry season brings yet more burning

In Indonesia’s forest fire capital, the dry season brings yet more burning

JAKARTA — Fires are flaring up in Indonesia’s Riau province, the perennial epicenter of the burning season in Sumatra, as the dry season sets in. At the end of March, fires had burned nearly 169 hectares (417 acres) of land in Riau, where large swaths of forests and peatlands have been burned to make way for plantations of oil palms and pulpwood. Since then, however, the scale of fires has intensified, with more than 1,000 hectares (2,500 acres) of land burned — an area three times the size of New York City’s Central Park — according to data from the province’s disaster mitigation agency, or BPBD. Responding to the intensifying fires, more than half of the 12 districts and cities in Riau have declared an emergency status for forest and land fires. To prevent new fire spots from popping up and current fires from spreading, the BPDP has requested cloud-seeding efforts to induce rainfall, as well as patrol helicopters and water bombing to fight the flames. The coordinator of the cloud-seeding efforts in Riau, Tukiyat, said there’s been an increase in the number of hotspots in the province since early July. “That’s why weather modification is now being done again in Riau,” he said as quoted by local media. Firefighters try to extinguish fires in Rokan Hilir, Riau, Indonesia, in July 2022. Image courtesy of BPBD Rokan Hilir. One of the districts most affected by the fires is Rokan Hilir, where more than 100 hectares (250 acres) are up in flames. Rokan Hilir…This article was originally published on Mongabay

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