IPB University Alumnus Becomes an Expert Team of Weather Modification Scientists in Handling Forest and Land Fire Disaster in Riau

A Hilmi Rafiiq, a graduate of IPB University from the Department of Geophysics and Meteorology, Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences (FMIPA) became a team of experts in disaster management of forest and land fires (karhutla) in Riau. Hilmi is a member of the Weather Modification Technology Division of PT Smart Aviation, a weather modification technology (TMC) company.

Formerly, the National Agency for Disaster Management (BNPB) has trusted PT Smart Cakrawala Aviation as a provider of private TMC to carry out TMC activities in the context of forest and land fire emergency preparedness in Riau Province in 2023. This is based on the instruction letter of the Head of BNPB No. B-213/KA BNPB/PD.01.04/04/2023.

According to observations by the Ministry of Environment and Forestry (KLHK), lately several hotspots have often appeared, especially in the East Coast of Riau, namely in Rokan Hilir, Dumai and Bengkalis Regencies. 

"We hope that Smart Aviation can help in tackling these forest fires. Because some areas in Riau Province are already dry and some have already caught fire," said Jim Gafur, a representative of the Regional Disaster Management Agency (BPBD) of Riau Province.

He added that the modification was carried out in order to prevent forest and land fires by wetting the land and refilling dry water sources, such as reservoirs or canals.

In the morning briefing before the flight, A Hilmi Rafiiq explained that cloud conditions in the Riau region, especially in the East Coast of Riau, were not too many clouds. "This has the potential for natural rain, so we need to seed the clouds from the air so that rain can occur". 

For five days, Hilmi, the flight scientist, said there had been rain in the seeded areas. In addition, there has also been an increase in peat water levels.

"Hopefully, during the remaining 15 days, we can continue to maximize cloud conditions so that rain can occur in areas prone to fires," added the young scientist, an alumnus of IPB University.

The activity was initiated by BNPB and BPBD Riau Province as a step to prevent forest fires. Riau is one of the provinces with a large area of forest. Therefore, in facing the dry season, it is necessary to anticipate the wetting of land in all forests in Riau as a form of anticipation of forest fires.

This TMC operation has started since April 19, 2023 for 20 days. Flights are carried out from a post stationed at the Roesmin Nurjadin Air Base (Lanud) Pekanbaru. (*/Rz) (IAAS/RUM)

Published Date : 02-May-2023

Resource Person : A Hilmi Rafiiq

Keyword : IPB alumnus, forest and land fire management, forest and land fire anticipation, weather modification technology