A helicopter carries water to put out a forest fire (Photo: AFP)

Jakarta (VNA) – Indonesia is enhancing measures to terminate forest
fires across the archipelagic nation as the number of hotspots rise

A total of 21 helicopters and 212 Cassa planes have been deployed to conduct
water bombings and creating artificial rains, spokesman of national disaster
management agency Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said on August 22.

A satellite image showed that a total of 538 hotspots from west to east of the
country with most of them detected in Borneo Island in the central parts and eastern
Papua province, the spokesman said, adding that the number of hotspots will
rise at the end of August and September.

Soldiers, policemen and personnel from disaster management agency as well as
volunteers have been taking part in the battle against the fires, he stressed.
Six provinces situated in Sumatra Island and Borneo Island have declared
emergency condition over the fires, Sutopo revealed.

[Indonesia assures ASEAN neighbours a haze-free 2017]

Lack of water and difficulties in reaching the affected areas are among the
major challenges to douse the fires, he said.

However, the size of forest fire-affected areas has declined to about 20,000
hectares at present, from 438,000 hectares and 2.61 million hectares
respectively in 2016 and 2017, the official said.

The spokesman warned people to stay alert over a greater potential of expansion
of fires next month.

Indonesia has frequently experienced forest fires with the biggest one in 2015,
causing a huge financial losses and health problems for local people.-VNA