BMKG: Dry Season's Peak Worsens Land and Forest Fires

The drought has made the peatlands easier to burn and the fire spread easily.

Dodo Gunawan explains the forecast of the upcoming rainy season in CEWS-BMKG room.

ACTNews, JAKARTA – The data from the Climate Early Warning System (CEWS) of the Indonesian Bureau of Meteorology Climatology and Geophysics (BMKG), shows the distribution of hotspots in Indonesia, with most of them located on the islands of Sumatra and Kalimantan. Dodo Gunawan as BMKG’s Head of Information Center for Climate Change said that it was also influenced by the peak of the drought that is affecting Kalimantan and Sumatra, not to mention the El Nino phenomenon which also influences the drought even though it is quite weak.

"Currently, it is the dry season. The condition is dry, there is no rain, and it will also be quite long. With such condition, fire can be easily ignited, burning forests and lands. In places where land and forest fires are burning, most of them are located on peatlands. It is very easy to get burned," Dodo said at BMKG’s B Building, Central Jakarta, Tuesday (9/17).

Many areas are now also in a state of haze emergency, such as in Pekanbaru whose PM10 intensity is above 150 micrograms per cubic meter. Based on BMKG’s standard, this is too dangerous for the locals’ health

"The maximum allowed PM10 intensity is 150 microns. Over 150 microns per cubic meter will be dangerous for health. That’s the main cause of the smoke emergency because the concentration of PM10 has exceeded the maximum allowed intensity. We see this phenomenon in provinces with the most number of hotspots," explained Dodo.

Dodo said, so far the government has carried out several efforts to anticipate the effects of haze such as making artificial rain, deploying personnel to extinguish the fire, and launching waterbomber aircrafts. Although according to him, the most effective way to extinguish the fire is to wait for the arrival of the rainy season.

"The rain is very, very effective to extinguish the rain. Once the rain falls, the smoke will be gone. On peatlands, if there is only less water to extinguish the fire, only the fire on the surface is extinguished, but underneath the fire is still burning. The smoke will still billow even though the fire on the surface is extinguished. It's different from ordinary fires," said Dodo.

Dodo added that the wind helped spread the smoke widely, covering the surrounding areas with thick haze and particles. When the rain falls, the smoke and particles will also be washed out.

Dodo said, the rainy season the beginning of the rainy season varies in each part of Indonesia, but he estimated that the rainy season will occur in every part of Indonesia from October to December. []