Expect more haze in Malaysia. Indonesian province declares state of emergency over forest fires

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Forest fire in Central Kalimantan, 2011 | Photo credit: CIFOR
Forest fire in Central Kalimantan, 2011 | Photo credit: CIFOR

Exacerbated by dryer than usual weather from the current El Nino cycle, forests in Riau have been aflame since late February and the situation is now at a critical point. Consequently, on Tuesday, the Indonesian government has declared a state of emergency in the Riau province according to Reuters. A government official speaking to Reuters, says that around 500 military and police personnel were deployed along with a water-bombing helicopter to put out the fires. Smog has spread to the villages in the province but is yet to reach the urban areas.

Indonesia’s National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) identified 69 hotspot areas in Riau, Acheh, North Sumatra, East and North Kalimantan, Papua and South Sulawesi earlier in February and President Joko Widodo is urging authorities to contain the fires and prevent them from spreading.

Whether the relevant authorities will be able to contain and put out the fires are another issue altogether. Fire is used as a cheap and quick means of clearing the land but the lack of rain or moisture means that these fires can get out of hand very quickly.

Just last year, the forest fires in Indonesia caused dangerous levels of haze within the country as well as in surrounding countries, including Malaysia. In the past, Indonesia’s efforts, and collaborations with neighbouring countries, to curb these fires have not made much of a difference at all.

See also: Winter is not coming: The Malaysian heatwave is here until March

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Di Denston

When do you guys return to Malaysia???? And is this anywhere near you ?

Tricia N Roger Denston

We’re back Di and loving the beautiful blue sky days, I just have everything crossed that the haze doesn’t come back anytime soon xx

U Angel Leah Grace

How I really wonder why Indonesia loves to burn forest..trees, plantations..why can’t they just burn Jakarta instead!!..and it’s just March!!..just so too early

Chunwei Tan

It is not the matter of when, but not suppose to be happen at all…
Especially on this dry season!

Marcos Cadah

Luz Sami Bruno Miranda ohhh noooooo…..

Bruno Miranda

Hj Já está estava bem esfumaçado

Helen Landragin

Oh shit not again!!
We need to book a very long holiday when the haze starts again Andrea. Xxx

Andrea Murray

Helen Landragin I think i will move

Lara Hariri

Hela Sharkas brace yourself

Hela Sharkas

yaaay sick leaves everyday from work haha 😀

Nicholas Chin

Presiden Joko Widodo kawan.. What is this? Please la.. Control your people!

Leslie Ong

It’s only March… Why is it getting earlier and longer each year?

Salma Penrose

Water bombing helicopter

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