Wildfire in Bangka Tengah’s Koba protected forest put out: BPBD
Pangkalpinang, Indonesianpost.com – The Bangka Belitung Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD) has extinguished a wildfire that spread across 55 hectares of land in the Koba Protected Forest area of Bangka Tengah District, the agency’s head, Mikron Antariksa, said.
The wildfire ravaged the protected forest’s peatland area, which is not far from the district head’s office, on Tuesday (October 3, 2023), he informed here on Thursday (October 5).
“Alhamdulillah (Thank God), the wildfire could be put out on Wednesday,” he said, adding that the fire engulfing the Koba Protected Forest area was “the biggest” during this year’s dry season.
In the midst of drought, wildfires have occurred almost every day in certain parts of Bangka Belitung Islands Province, but they have generally destroyed less than 5 hectares of land.
Considering the vulnerable situation, Antariksa urged locals to support the government’s wildfire mitigation efforts by not throwing cigarette butts carelessly on the ground.
“This time, such activities as burning waste, throwing cigarette butts on the ground, and slash-and-burn land clearing practices can trigger wildfires,” he cautioned.
ANTARA has reported earlier that Indonesia’s Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) has projected that this year’s dry season will follow the same pattern as the one seen in 2019.
A total of 28 percent of regions in Indonesia, which include 194 seasonal zones (ZOM) determined by the BMKG, have been forecast to experience the dry season from June this year.
BMKG head Dwikorita Karnawati said that a strengthened El Nino phenomenon due to the positive phase of the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) could trigger a drought during the dry season in Indonesia.
Taking note of the serious impact of the El Nino climate pattern on several regions in Indonesia, the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) is collaborating with ministries and institutions to apply weather modification technology (TMC) to extinguish fires and support other needs.
In the last two months, TMC has been implemented continuously in Riau, West Kalimantan, East Nusa Tenggara (NTT), West Java, Jambi, Jakarta, South Kalimantan, and South Sumatra, BNPB head, Lieutenant General Suharyanto, said in a recent statement.
Meanwhile, certain areas on the Indonesian island of Sumatra have been blanketed by haze resulting from wildfires.
The South Sumatra administration has distributed 3.6 million masks to local residents in response to unhealthy air conditions due to the smog.
According to the head of the South Sumatra Health Service, Trisnawarman, the Air Pollution Standard Index (ISPU) in Palembang city reached a harmful level on Sunday (October 1).
This means that the air quality level could seriously harm public health, he added.
The Pekanbaru city administration in Riau province was reportedly considering closing schools if the haze, which engulfed the region for days, continued to worsen.