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Fires in Jambi, S. Sumatra pollute now fire-free Riau

  • The Jakarta Post

    The Jakarta Post

Pekanbaru   /   Tue, September 29, 2015   /  12:26 pm
Fires in Jambi, S. Sumatra pollute now fire-free Riau Low visibility: The Riau administration predicts that wildfires in southern Sumatra will continue to pose haze threats in Riau. Wildfires caused by illegal land clearing in Sumatra and Kalimantan have also been spreading smoke to neighboring countries such as Malaysia and Singapore. (Associated Press)

Low visibility: Airplanes sit in smoky air in Malaysia, which has been blanketed by thick smoke from Sumatran wildfires for some weeks. (Associated Press)

The Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) Pekanbaru says that thick smoke would continue to blanket several areas in Riau, potentially reducing visibility to around just 100 meters.

'€œThe wind is now tending to move toward Riau. Meanwhile, the wind passing across Riau will turn toward the southeast and slow down. That'€™s why it will be difficult for us to avoid smoke from Jambi and South Sumatra,'€ BMKG Pekanbaru head Sugarin said as quoted by Antara new agency in Pekanbaru on Tuesday.

He said that based on the agency'€™s weather data, as of 7 a.m. local time on Tuesday, thick smoke was still blanketing four areas, namely Dumai, Pelalawan, Pekanbaru and Rengat.

'€œIn Pekanbaru, visibility has reduced to only 200 meters while in Pelalawan and Rengat in Indragiri Hulu regency [it is] 100m. In Dumai, visibility is better, reaching 1,000m,'€ said Sugarin.

Based on Terra and Aqua satellite imagery data, 190 hot spots are spread across Sumatra. Most are concentrated in South Sumatra, where there are 178 in total. Jambi has 11 hot spots and Bangka Belitung has one.

Earlier, acting Riau governor Arsyadjuliandi Rachman announced that the provincial administration had decided to extend the air-pollution emergency status, which would have expired on Monday.

'€œ[...] today, we agree to extend the air pollution emergency status to Oct. 11,'€ he said.

Arsyadjuliandi said the air-pollution emergency status helps the Riau administration to be more focused in handling illnesses resulted from the haze disaster.

He said that Riau had been free from hot spots and fires for the last several days, though still, smoke was blanketing areas in the province.

'€œThe smoke from several neighboring provinces has continued to cover Riau. We will focus our attention on handling the health impacts of the haze,'€ the acting governor said. (ebf)(++++)

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