INDONESIA: Indonesian authorities reported a doubled number of areas with potential wildfires due to dry weather, raising concerns about major forest fires even before the country enters its peak dry season.
Indonesia’s disaster mitigation agency (BNPB) data revealed that between July 17 and 23, there were 12,701 “hotspots,” up from 6,082 a week earlier.
BNPB spokesperson Abdul Muhari reported that hotspots are growing primarily in Kalimantan, Java, and Papua, Indonesia.
Despite the fact that not all hotspots may develop into fire spots, the nation still needs to exercise caution given the huge rise it is experiencing, according to the spokesperson.
He emphasised that the country has not yet reached the height of its dry season, which is predicted to occur between August and early September.
According to Indonesia’s weather agency, the country is likely to see its worst dry season since 2019 this year, in part because the El Niño weather pattern has returned.
Abdul issued a warning to the public to be attentive towards fires and to report any noticeably low water levels in peatland areas. He added that in six provinces that are of particular importance, authorities are undertaking airborne patrols.
Devastating forest fires in the Southeast Asian nation occurred in 2015 and 2019, engulfing the whole nation and sections of Southeast Asia in smoke.
The World Bank estimates that the eight Indonesian provinces affected by the 2019 fires suffered economic losses of US$5.2 billion (or RM23.8 billion).