Some firefighters in Jambi City attempt to extinguish peat fires in Kumpeh Ulu, Muarojambi, Jambi, on August 6.(Photo: ANTARA/Wahdi Septiawan/foc)

Jakarta (VNA) – Indonesia’s Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) detected at least 18,895 hotspots of forest and land fires in Southeast Asia and Papua New Guinea over the past two weeks.

The figure was obtained from the Terra Aqua Satellite (LAPAN) and Himawari Satellite (Japan JMA) imagery and analysed by the BMKG.

Accordingly, on August 4, the number of hotspots in Indonesia went up to 3,191, concentrated in the provinces of Riau, Central Kalimantan, and West Kalimantan. They were also detected in other ASEAN countries, including Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanmar, and the Philippines.

Deputy head of the BMKG’s meteorology section Mulyono R. Prabowo, said the increasing number was a result of current atmospheric conditions and relatively hot and dry weather.

The BMKG has continued to coordinate with the Indonesian Ministry of Environment and Forestry, National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB), and some local disaster mitigation agencies, other related agencies, and the community to step up preparations for the risks of land and forest fires, air and smoke pollution, and drought that can cause clean water shortages. 

On August 7, the BNPB identified some 773 hotspots scattered across several areas in Indonesia. Of the total, 549 were classified in the medium category (30 to 70 percent) and 224 in the high category (equal or above 80 percent).

Based on the SiPongi Forest and Land Fire Monitoring System of the Indonesian Ministry of Environment and Forestry, fires have ravaged close to 136,000 hectares of forest and land in 2019.-VNA