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Airports closed and fire helicopters in Indonesia

Nation devastated by fire, it would seem made deliberately

Some fires are devastating Indonesia and have engulfed villages, cities and forests and toxic smoke is spreading to Singapore. Poor visibility has caused cancellations and delays in air connections at various airports in the Southeast Asian Nation and in Malaysia and many schools have been closed.

Today, on September 17, Indonesian President Joko Widodo went to one of the areas most affected in Riau, to encourage the authorities to keep the situation under control and communicated to journalists that around 5600 military personnel were involved to help 9000 people committed to fighting the flames, which razed more than 328,700 hectares of land to the national level, and made it known that 52 firefighting helicopters were deployed. He added: "All efforts have been made to the fullest, but the most important measure remains prevention. We have all the resources to not allow what happened, but they were not activated correctly". He also urged people to refrain from lighting fires in bogs or forests and ordered the authorities to act firmly against the arsonists.

The Minister of Environment and Forest Sites Nurbaya Bakar stated that the Ministry is investigating 370 plantation farms suspected of intentionally burning new plants, of which 103 are in Riau Province. The Police arrested 185 people who probably provoked forest fires and could risk up to 10 years in prison under a local environmental protection law.

RC3 - 1224379

AVIONEWS - World Aeronautical Press Agency