Five people died during flooding in Padang Sidempuan, North Sumatra, on Sunday evening (26/03), the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) reported. (Antara Photo/Rony Muharrman)

Water-Bombing Choppers Bound for Riau's Forest Fires


MARCH 01, 2017

The National Disaster Mitigation Agency, or BNPB, will send water-bombing helicopters to Riau in Sumatra as soon as possible since dozens of fire hot spots have been detected in the province last week.

An MI-171 helicopter, which can carry up to 5,000 liters of water, will be used to help aerial firefighters in Riau, BNPB head Willem Rampangilei said in Pekanbaru on Tuesday (28/02).

The Riau Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD) is also looking to add two more water-bombing helicopters. The BNPB declared last month that Riau and South Sumatra are already in disaster response preparation mode in regard to forest fires.

"This year, which is expected to be hotter, is going to be more challenging compared to 2016," Willem told state news agency Antara.

The dry season this year is expected to begin in March and last for approximately five to six months, with its peak hottest temperature in June.

NOAA satellite shows the number of fire hot spots in 2016 went down by 82.14 percent since the previous year, while Terra Aqua shows a drop of 94.58 percent.