Indonesia fights massive forest fire

Jakarta, Oct 21 (IANS) Indonesia is fighting massive forest and agriculture fires, the “biggest” in the country’s history, a senior official said on Wednesday.

Satellite observation showed that the number of fire hotspots doubled to 3,226 on Tuesday as compared with 1,545 on Monday morning, reported Xinhua.

“The number of these hotspots is the biggest ever,” said Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesman of the national disaster management agency.

The forest fire is expected to expand to the largest scale in the history of Indonesia under the current dry weather pattern, Sutopo added.

According to Luhut Binsar Panjaitan, coordinating minister for politics, law and security affairs, the Indonesian government has asked Russia, Canada, Australia and other countries to send aircraft to help extinguish the fire by means of water bombing.

“The government will boost air operation by increasing the number of aircraft for water bombing,” Sutopo told Xinhua via the phone.

Forest fires, which initially occurred in Sumatra Island and Borneo Island in the western and central parts of Indonesia, have spread to Celebes Island, Maluku Island and Papua in the east, according to the disaster agency.

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