REPUBLIKA.CO.ID, PEKANBARU -- The Terra and Aqua satellites detected 22 hotspots in the districts of Bengkalis, Meranti, Pelalawan, Rokan Hilir, and Siak in Riau Province on Thursday at 5 a.m. local time.
Meranti had eight hotspots and Bengkalis, seven, Sugarin, head of the Pekanbaru meteorology office, stated.
Two hotspots each were found in Rokan Hilir and Pelalawan, while three were detected in Siak.
Of the 22 hotspots, 13 were confirmed to have arisen from forest and plantation fires, with the confidence level of seven percent, he noted.
"Of the 13 hotspots, six each are in Bengkalis and Meranti and one in Siak," he added.
The hotspots in Riau have affected the air quality and visibility in some areas such as Bengkalis and Dumai.
On March 7, the Riau provincial government declared an emergency alert status, indicating the need to expedite the efforts to prevent and handle forest and land fires following the discovery of the hotspots.
The status, which will remain effective for three months, is aimed at expediting the measures to handle and prevent forest and land fires.
Riau's district administrations of Meranti, Bengkalis, Dumai, Rokan Hilir, Siak, and Pelalawan had earlier also declared the emergency alert status.
With the alert status upgraded to emergency, the relevant authorities will be able to focus their efforts to prevent and extinguish forest and land fires through the optimum use of resources.