Illustrative image (Photo: AFP) Hanoi (VNA) – Indonesian President Joko Widodo has ordered government officials to find a permanent solution to prevent annual forest fires that cause serious consequences. He made the request at a meeting with cabinet ministers and heads of agencies in charge of extinguishing fires, adding that 99 percent of forest fires were started by humans. Widodo also ordered more frequent patrols on the ground by security personnel across the country, especially in fire-prone areas such as Riau, Jambi, North Sumatra, and South Sumatra provinces. Indonesia last year suffered the worst forest blazes in four years when 1.6 million ha of its forests and peat lands were burned. The World Bank estimated that the total economic losses from the fires amounted to 5.2 billion USD. Indonesian farmers often use fire to clear land during the dry season, but they can rage out of control and produce a choking haze. Palm oil cultivation is often blamed for land clearance in places like Sumatra and Borneo islands./. VNA
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