Indonesia: Forest fires hit Sumatra again, causing smog

The Jakarta Post 19 May 17;

The Indonesian climate agency detected 18 hot spots on Friday, indicating forests and lands were burning in regions on Sumatra Island, as happens each year, resulting in pollution and upsetting neighboring countries.

The Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) said that fires had been found in Jambi, South Sumatra, Riau and Riau Islands, which are in the dry season.

“The hot spots have been recorded over the past week,” said Slamet Riyadi, head of the data and information division of the BMKG’s Pekanbaru branch in Riau.

There were seven hot spots in Jambi while four fires were burning in some areas of the Riau and South Sumatra provinces, according to the Terra and Aqua satellites.

Forest and land fires are perennial problems in the country, with the latest massive fires in 2015 resulting in a choking haze blanketing numerous areas in Sumatra and Kalimantan, as well as neighboring countries, and costing the economy Rp 221 trillion, equal to about 1.9 percent of the country’s GDP. (mos/dan)

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