Indonesia Warns of Increased Forest Fire Risks in 2023

The Head of Indonesia’s Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) Dwikorita Karnawati said Indonesia will face its driest weather since 2019 during 2023.

Citing the weakening of the La Nina pattern, the BMKG agency warned that the lack of rain could increase the risk of forest fires, news agency Reuters reports.

“Starting May until April 2023, it will be getting dryer compared to the past three years, so the risk of forest fire rises,” Dwikorita Karnawati told reporters.

She said the influence of La Nina, which refers to the cooling of ocean surface temperatures combined with winds and rains, will end around March 2023, causing lower rainfall. While the trend of the past three years also suggested a heightened risk of earthquakes and tsunamis.

Dwikorita added that next year’s dry season could be similar to that in 2019, when more than 1.65 million hectares of forests burned. The fires cost the country at least US$5.2 billion in damage and economic losses, according to the World Bank estimates.

Dwikorita said In order to prevent forest fires, BMKG along with the environment ministry would conduct weather modification, including cloud seeding in April or May.

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