SAMARINDA: The number of fire hot spots detected in East Kalimantan this month has increased to more than 230, with most found at Suharto Hill forest park, which is also known as Tahura, Jakarta Globe understands.
“Based on our observation earlier this week, 236 hot spots have been detected and most of them are at Suharto Hill forest park and Kutai Kartanegara,” said Eddy Yudjar, an official at the East Kalimantan Forestry Agency’s municipal technical unit for forest fire and land control.
Eddy said the hot spots were observed using a satellite from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The municipal team will be deployed to an area if NOAA detects a high number of hot spots so the local authorities can swiftly contain the situation, Eddy said, adding that conditions in East Kalimantan were normal for now.
The fires captured by the satellite were set off by local residents for planting, he said.
To prevent forest fires, the agency has set up task forces in several areas that are prone to fires. The agency has also trained local residents to help contain forest fires.
“We have to admit that our team [members] are limited. That’s why we’re working with local residents. They will be the ones to go into the fields with assistants to see the conditions,” Eddy said.
The agency has put several personnel and fire fighters on a standby in Tahura due to the high probability of fire, especially during the dry season.
“Tahura is a high priority due to the high number of hot spots,” Eddy said. “We’ve dispatched a team and other supporting devices. Coordination with the regional administration has also been done.”
Sutrisno, head of the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) for Samarinda said East Kalimantan is expected to start its rainy season between late September and mid-October.