JAKARTA: Hundreds of hectares of forests are on fire in Riau province in Sumatra, Indonesia, believed to be the result of the hot season and widespread open burning for agricultural purposes.
The fires reportedly began as early as June.
According to Indonesia’s Antara news agency, authorities are intensifying efforts to put out the fires, including using 11 helicopters for water bombing.
Riau Regional Disaster Management Agency chairman Edward Sanger said the helicopter operations are being concentrated in Dumai, Rokan Hulu, Pelalawan and Siak.
Meanwhile, in a statement, Indonesia’s Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency said that since early this year, more than 600 hectares of forests in Sumatra have been wiped out by fires.
It added that the agency hopes that rains forecast for later this month will douse this latest round of forest fires.