Jakarta, Ekuatorial – Approaching dry season, Ministry of Environment and Forestry (MoEF) launched a website to detect land and forest fires on real-time, on Thursday (12/3), in Jakarta.

The website, sipongi.menlhk.go.id, displays information extracted from ASMC (ASEAN Specialized Meteorological Center), NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration), and BMKG (Indonesian Meteorological, Climatology, and Geophysics), which comprises hotspots coordinate and location, recent wind movement, haze trajectory, weather forecast, and forest fires coverage.

“Early warning system [for forest and land fires] is the ministry’s responsibility. The system serves as monitoring tool to know what’s going on in the ground, for instance we can get information on how much hotspots in the ground using satellite,” said Minister of Environment and Forestry Siti Nurbaya at the launching event.

Furthermore, Nurbaya said the website would also become national reference for officials on dealing with land and forest fires.

“Head of Riau police requested for clear information [on hotspots] as not confuse people in regions,” she said. “As this is our responsibility then we will use NOAA [National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration] satellite as reference.”

The Ministry of Forestry, before being merged with environment ministry, had already distributed hotspots information derived from NOAA-18 satellite since 2007.

“Unfortunately, those information only limited to a mailing list group, [email protected] , which can only reach 1,381 people. It’s very limited and was operated manually by operators at the Forest Fires Control Directorate,” said director general of forest protection and nature conservation, Sony Partono.

However, Partono added, the ministry had upgraded the early warning system in 2014.

“We are using web based application which means it will be running automatically, without any operators, except for ground checking,” he said citing that hotspots can be processed within 30 – 60 seconds.

He said people can also call 0813-1003-5000 or sent message (SMS) to 0812-9718-5000 to report for any land and forest fires in their areas. In addition, people can also report through facebook fanpage: Sipongi and twitter @HotspotSiPongi. Fidelis E. Satriastanti.

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