The Indonesian military will join efforts to halt recurrences of land and forest fires in South Sumatra Province during this year's dry season by regularly conducting public awareness campaigns in several districts.
The campaigns regarding the importance of taking precautionary measures have been conducted in districts such as Banyuasin and Ogan Komering Ilir, Chief of the 044/Garuda Dempo Military Resort Command, Major Binsar J Simanjuntak, said on Wednesday.
Speaking to local journalists here, Simanjuntak said precautionary measures were also taken by the land and forest fire task force by monitoring vulnerable areas.
The same preventive measures have also been taken by the Banyuasin district military command.
South Sumatra and numerous other provinces in Indonesia's Sumatra Island have been repeatedly challenged and threatened by haze, triggered by land and forest fires, over the past years.
Considering this challenging reality, the South Sumatra police have warned plantation companies and farmers in the province against using slash and burn farming methods during this year's dry season to avoid the recurrences of land and forest fires.
"The community members and plantation companies found conducting burn farming methods will be punished," the South Sumatra Police Headquarters spokesman, Senior Commissioner Supriadi, said.
Slash and burn agriculture is completely prohibited because it can trigger occurrences of land and forest fires that cause a haze crisis.
The smog does not harm the health of the local people but is a problem for neighboring countries because it potentially threatens their people's health and aviation activities, he said.
Supriadi said the owners of farmlands potentially gutted by fire during the dry season should remain cautious. They have been asked to build canal blockings, and prepare water storage facilities and keep fire extinguishers handy.
The owners of farmlands who violate the law would be legally sanctioned, he said, adding that the areas of Banyuasin, Musi Banyuasin, Ogan Komering Ilir, and Ogan Ilir Districts are vulnerable to occurrences of land and forest fires. EDITED BY INE
Reporter: Ujang Idrus, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Eliswan Azly