3,500 deployed in West Kalimantan, to help manage forest fires


JAKARTA – The Indonesian National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB) said 3,500 personnel have been deployed to help address land and forest fires in West Kalimantan.

A West Kalimantan news source, Banjarmasin Post, reported the deployment after a press meeting with the Head of Data Information and Public Relations of BNPB, Sutopo Purwo Nugroho.

Mr Sutopo explained the government are still pushing the continuance of the fire management effort and asks the personnel to be vigil.

“Land and forest fires management continues, 3,500 personnel of the task force are deployed,” he said.

According to Sutopo, the deployed personnel would focus on ten regencies in West Kalimantan which have reached the emergency standby status. They are distributed to help extinguish the fire and keep a watch-wake to the ten areas.

The ten regencies are Kubu Raya, Mempawah, Landak, Bengkayang, Sanggau, Sekadau, Sintang, Melawi, Kapuas Hulu and North Kayong.

“The challenge still remains because people are still opening the rice farmland by burning,” he said.

Another problem was limited water sources for the implementation of water bombing to extinguish forest and land fires.

“The sources of water are far away from land and forest fires locations, this is also an obstacle for the team in charge,” he said.

He voiced his complaint on the matter because some re-burning of lands that has been extinguished are also happening and making a hindrance in handling the fires.

Mr Sutopo also explained, “New hotspots are appearing during the day because the burnings occur during the day.”

On the occasion, Sutopo regretted that Ketapang Residence has not set emergency alert status even though there are already some hotspots in the region.

“And in addition, we noted Sambas Residence has not yet formed an area disaster management agency (BPBD),” he said.