The West Kalimantan Police have named 27 people as suspects in the forest and land fire cases that have caused thick smog, which affected residents in the province.
There were 20 police reports related to forest and land fires with 27 people named suspects, West Kalimantan Police chief Insp. Gen. Didi Haryono said on Monday. From those numbers, 14 were arrested and 11 were released, while two other suspects died in the fire.
The police, along with other officers, monitor a 147,307-square-kilometer area spread across 14 regencies and municipalities, where 1.68 million hectares are peatland areas and the rest are mineral soil, Didi said. The police had also conducted operations for prevention as well as promotion to raise awareness among members of the public.
“We will keep making maximum efforts,” he said on Monday.
The forest fires have caused thick smog covering several areas in the province affecting thousands of people and disrupting flights in Pontianak on Monday.
National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said the agency had deployed eight helicopters for water bombing operations. The agency also worked on artificial rain with Agency for the Assessment and Application of Technology (BPPT) using Casa 212 aircraft from the Air Force.
Authorities in Pontianak decided to close schools last week following thick haze blanketing the city. A number of flights from Supadio International Airport in Pontianak were also disrupted by thick haze on Monday.