Indonesia: BMKG Predicts More Fire Hotspots in 2017 Despite "Neutral" Weather Conditions

Alin Almanar Jakarta Globe 5 Jan 16;

Jakarta. Indonesia may experience more fire hotspots this year than last year despite predicted "neutral" weather conditions, its state weather agency said.

Indonesia experienced its worst land and forest fires on record in 2015 amid a strong El Niño weather pattern, whereas wildfires in 2016 were less severe due to the La Niña.

Meanwhile, weather conditions in 2017 are expected to stay "neutral," the head of the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) Andi Eka Sakya told the press in Jakarta on Thursday (05/01).

"El Niño was dominant in 2015 before La Niña took over in 2016," Andi said.

"Weather conditions in 2017 should remain neutral. There will be more hotspots than in 2016 but fewer than in 2015."

Wildfires destroyed millions of hectares of forest land in 2015, posing serious health risks for more than half a million people and resulting in billions of dollars of economic losses.

Land and forest fires happen every year on the islands of Sumatra and Kalimantan, which were blanketed in a choking haze in 2015.

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