06 Aug '11, 11pm

Indonesia predicts fewer forest fires this year, but critics remain unconvinced

Indonesia predicts fewer forest fires this year, but critics remain unconvinced

In this file photo, a fire fighter is seen spraying water from a nearby stream to put out small fires in the undergrowth of the forested region in Riau. -- ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM ON THE heels of successfully reducing the number of forest fires last year, the Forestry Ministry said it was optimistic about again reducing outbreaks this year. Ministry secretary-general Hadi Daryanto said that the number of hot spots in Sumatra, Kalimantan and Sulawesi continued to decrease because of sustained monitoring and fire fighting efforts. 'The dry season has been unusually humid since last year,' he added on Thursday. Mr Daryanto said the fire fighting programs the ministry established in these regions also contributed to the decrease in the number of forest fires. The ministry said there were only 9,880 hot spots in 2010, far lower than the annual average rate of 58,000 between 2005 an...

Full article: http://www.straitstimes.com/BreakingNews/SEAsia/Story/STI...

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