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Indonesia Braces for Forest Fires as El Nino Strengthens

FILE PHOTO: Firefighters try to extinguish forest fires at Sebangau National Park area in Palangka Raya, Central Kalimantan province, Indonesia, September 14, 2019. REUTERS/Willy Kurniawan/File Photo

Indonesia is bracing for forest fires due to the El Nino weather phenomenon, which caused long drought, and the peak is expected from August to September, according to the National Disaster Mitigation Agency on Monday.

The agency’s head Suharyanto said that the government has deployed ground forces, trained locals, and readied tools like weather modification technology, monitoring applications, water bombers, and helicopters.

“A total of 31 helicopters have deployed to reach remote locations,” Suharyanto added.

Six vulnerable provinces are monitoring priorities, including South Sumatra, Riau, Jambi, West Kalimantan, South Kalimantan and Central Kalimantan.

The dry season has begun in 63 percent of Indonesia’s territory and is expected to be more severe than the last three years, according to Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency official Fachri Radjab.

El Nino’s effects would not be noticed until December, though the peak is from August to September, Radjab added.