Multinational Effort to Fight Forest Fires Begins

A multinational effort to fight forest fires in Indonesia began on Sunday (11 Oct) as Singapore joined forces with other countries to help douse fires in South Sumatra, one of Indonesia's worst-hit areas.

Singapore has sent a Republic of Singapore Air Force (SAF) Chinook helicopter with a 5,000-litre heli-bucket and 34 SAF personnel to help fight the ongoing forest fires, together with a six-man Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team from the Singapore Civil Defence Force. Two RSAF C-130 aircraft were also deployed to transport SAF and SCDF personnel, as well as their equipment.

The Chinook worked with a Bombardier water bomber from Malaysia, which can scoop 6,000 litres of seawater. They joined two air-tractor water bombers from Indonesia's Environment and Forestry Ministry and six choppers from its Disaster Management Agency (BNPB).

In a statement to the media on Sunday, a BNPB spokesperson said Australia's L-100 Hercules aircraft will arrive by Wednesday (14 Oct). Russia is expected to send a Beriev Be-200 aircraft, which can scoop 12,000 litres of water from a lake or the sea; China is also expected to send a few aircraft.

Indonesia hopes to extinguish all fires burning in different parts of the country within two weeks, with the help of neighbouring countries.

Sources: “Singapore joins multinational effort to douse Sumatra fires” (The Straits Times, 12 Oct 2015), Singapore, Malaysia water-bomb hot spots in Sumatra (TODAY Online, 12 Oct 2015)

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