6,000 hectares of Riau’s Lands and Forests Were Burned Again in July 2009 | b l o g o d r i l

16 July 2009

6,000 hectares of Riau’s Lands and Forests Were Burned Again in July 2009

In July 2009, around 6,000 hectares of land and forest in Riau Province, Indonesia, has destroyed by fire. 3,000 hectares land fired at Kubu region of Rokan Hilir District. The fire is caused by human activity in order to get better land clearing for agriculture, forestry and plantations.

Reported by Media Indonesia on Tuesday (14/7), Head of Forest Fire Section in the Forestry Agency of Riau Province, Syaid Nurjaya, said that forest and land fires occurred and distributed in 11 districts / cities in Riau. Fires have broadened reach 1,000 hectares in Rokan Hilir District and Dumai City and in district of Bengkalis reach 500 hectares. "Land is deliberately burned by the company to prepare the plantation," he said.

Based on The Monitoring Team of Riau Forestry Agency, there are 40 companies been watched by NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) Satellite and 18 companies burned their land. “Watch list are then followed up with investigation by the team," Syaid said.

The peoples have already been suffering from haze and visibility was cut in Riau's provincial capital of Pekanbaru during last week while air quality in several parts of the town was deemed unhealthy.

Riau, along with other parts of Sumatra, frequently suffers from forest fires. The dry season (in Riau) will peak at the end of June to July which may increase hotspots. In June 2009, there are 124 hotspots monitored by NOAA - 18 / AVHRR.

The dry season supported by the El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) phenomenon would rise forest fire risks this year, espesially areas such as Sumatra and Borneo.

Indonesia have been experienced with more severe forest fires because of an extended dry season. Then, raising the prospect of choking smoke blowing across neighboring states. As well as being unhealthy, the smog can cause major economic disruption costing the tourism, transport and farming sectors billions of dollars.

Spurred on by the 1997-98 fires, Southeast Asian countries signed the ASEAN Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution in 2002, but Indonesia has yet to ratify the pact.

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