100 Hotspots in Central Kalimantan Province

The following is a non-official translation by UNORCID for the benefit of the stakeholders. UNORCID does not guarantee the accuracy of the translation. Please find the original article in Bahasa Indonesia here, for your reference.

As of August 20, there were 100 hotspots spread over several districts and cities in the Central Kalimantan Province, and there is still a possibility of more fires to come.

PALANGKA RAYA – Despite efforts by the Agency for the Assessment and Application of Technology (BPPT) to fight fires by inducing rain with cloud seeding operations using Weather Modification Technologies (TMC), fires are still burning in the Central Kalimantan Province. As of August 20, there were 100 hotspots in the province.

According to Mugeni, Head of the Regional Disaster Management Agency (BPBD) of Central Kalimantan, the number has drastically reduced when compared to the same month in 2012. A total of 550 hotspots were detected in Central Kalimantan in August 2012.

However, he expressed cautious optimism at the 100 hotspot number, given the number of hotspots is still increasing, especially since there has been no rain for the past three days. Mugeni was accompanied to the media center for forest fire control on Wednesday (21/8) by Gunawan, Head of the district’s fire brigade for the Natural Resources Conservation Center (BKSDA).

The 100 hotspots were detected predominantly in areas such as peatlands in Kapuas, Katingan, and Kotawaringin Timur. Hotspots are spread across all areas in Central Kalimantan, with Lamandau being the only district with few hotspots, Mugeni said. In addition to current hotspots, as of August 20, 21 new fires have occurred in the Palangka Raya area, according to recent data. Fires in the capital of Central Kalimantan have reached 27.86 hectares (ha), of which around 25.36 ha have been extinguished.

Fires frequently occur in the areas of Kalampangan and Mahir Mahar in the district Sabangau, Palangka Raya, for the purpose of clearing land for growing crops. Along the ring road, or Jalan Tjilik Riwut, circling Palangka Raya, there is a small number of fires, most of which have been extinguished.

To increase the fire fighters’ awareness and preparedness, two field shelters in the District Office and the Village Office of Jekan Kalampangan Raya, Palangka Raya have been established. In addition, BPBD plans to build a similar post in the BPBD Office for awareness of the area surrounding the ring road.

Mugeni added he had not taken any action against the perpetrators of the fires. He and his staff only conducted awareness-raising activities to encourage community members to be good farmers who would not excessively clear land by setting them on fire.

As of 20 August, the cloud seeding operations have dispersed 29.5 tonnes of cloud-seeding particles into the air to induce rain. Data from the regional command post at Palangka Raya now indicates the province of West Kalimantan also has a fairly high number of hotspots.

Original source:
Tabengan newspaper
pg. 9
22 August 2013

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