International

Indonesian President demands utmost efforts to stamp out forest fires

VNA
 Indonesian President Joko Widodo has requested utmost efforts to extinguish widespread forest fires in the country, warning that officials would be sacked if they fail.

A fireman tries to put out peat land fire in Ogan Ilir regency of South Sumatra province, Indonesia, on August 5 (Photo: Xinhua/VNA)

A fireman tries to put out peat land fire in Ogan Ilir regency of South Sumatra province, Indonesia, on August 5 (Photo: Xinhua/VNA)

He made the statement amidst thousands of military and police personnel being deployed after the country had declared of a state of emergency due to forest fires in six provinces on Sumatra Island and Kalimantan province on Borneo Island.

Addressing a coordinating meeting on tackling forest fires at the presidential palace on August 6, he said he phoned the military and police chiefs to tell them to replace those who can’t resolve forest and land fires.

He demanded the forces not to underestimate hotspots and immediately put out small fires, not wait until they get bigger.

President Widodo also requested modern equipment like drones to be used to detect hotspots, pledging government funds for such equipment.

Indonesian farmers use fire to clear land during the dry season, but fires can rage out of control and produce haze spreading to neighbouring countries like Singapore and Malaysia.

Indonesia has recorded the highest number of hotspots this year since the devastating fires in 2015, making it face global pressure to put an end to slash-and-burn practice for clearance of land.

It has recorded 975 hotspots so far this year with 135,000ha of land burned across 18 provinces. 

Other news