A firefighter tries to extinguish a bush fire in Ogan Ilir regency, South Sumatra, Indonesia August 4, 2017 in this photo taken by Antara Foto. Picture taken August 4, 2017. Antara Foto/Nova Wahyudi/ via REUTERS

JAKARTA (Reuters) – A military official in the Indonesian province of Jambi said on Saturday he has ordered that anyone who deliberately sets fire to forest areas be shot, as authorities struggle to contain fires that cause choking smoke in the region.
Five Indonesian provinces have declared emergencies because of forest fires, according to Indonesia’s disaster mitigation agency (BNPB), with the number of hotspots steadily increasing in many areas over the past week.
The BNPB is working with many government branches, including the military, to contain the fires. Indonesian media have reported that authorities in the neighboring province of South Sumatra, also on the island of Sumatra, had issued the same order.
“This is to stress a point to the people, who have been warned many, many times,” said Colonel Refrizal, commander of the forest fire task force in Jambi. “(This is) to show our firmness and seriousness.”
The …
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