Forest Fires and Meteorological Conditions in South East Asia: 16 May 2000

Forest Fires and MeteorologicalConditions in South East Asia

16 May 2000

Sumatra fires spark haze warning in Singapore
An increasing number of forest fires over the weekend and smoke plumes in central Sumatra might cause some hazy days in the city-state of Singapore. The current situation, however, isn´t that bad as it was in 1997 and 1998 smoke episode. So far Singapore’s air quality has not been affected. More than 90 hotspots had been detected in central Sumatra by satellite images over the last few days, compared to less than 10 previously. Dry southwesterly winds, marking the onset of the monsoon season, increased the region’s susceptibility to fires and were blowing smoke plumes towards the Malacca Straits.

Last, Indonesian fires were causing “moderate” haze in neighbouring Singapore in March, and pollution reached “hazardous” levels in Indonesia’s Riau province.

For the detailed Planet Ark story regarding to the Sumatra fires the GFMC would like to refer to the Recent Media Highlights on Fire, Policies, and Politics:

  • Sumatra fires spark haze warning in Singapore (published by Planet Ark, 16 May 2000)

The Meteorological Service of Singapore reports on 15 May 2000 for the South East Asian region: “Hot spots observed mainly in central Sumatra. Light to moderate smoke haze covers some parts of central Sumatra and the Straits of Malacca.” Forecasts of winds and surface pressure are also available.

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Fig. 1. Regional Surface Winds and Haze/Fire Map, 15 May 2000
(Source: Meteorological Service of Singapore)

The latest NOAA14 satellite image shows fire locations in Sumatra. The in the image so called “Hot spots” can be identified as red dots.

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Fig. 2. Latest NOAA Satellite image of Sumatra, 15 May 2000
(Source: Meteorological Service of Singapore)

The Meteorological Service of Singapore also provides rainfall-record charts for selected locations in Sumatra and Kalimantan with information about the mean annual rainfall and the actual monthly and weekly records for this year.

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Fig. 3. Rainfall charts for Sumatra
(Source: Meteorological Service of Singapore)

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Fig. 4. Rainfall charts for Kalimantan
(Source: Meteorological Service of Singapore)

The Forest Fire Prevention and Control Project (FFPCP) in Palembang (Sumatra) provided a fire overview map for Sumatra on 16 May 2000.

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Fig.5. Fire Overview Map of the FFPCP project in Palembang, 16 May 2000. Generally cloudy over Sumatra. A few fires were detected.
(Source: FFPCP)

The GFMC displays selected and daily updated global and Asia-Pacific Experimental Climate Prediction Center (ECPC)  Fire Weather Forecasts (Fig.4-9). These examples allow a quicklook and provide daily and weekly total forecasts, and forecasted monthly totals (for this month). For background information refer to the ECPC products description page.

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Fig. 6.-11. Fire Weather Index (FWI) forecast for tomorrow (left), next week (center) and the predicted FWI total for next month (right) for the Western Pacific and the Pacific Ocean. The daily forecast refers to 12:00 hrs noon UTC (Greenwich) time; the weekly total forecast and the monthly forecasted total refer to 00:00 hrs UTC, which is local noon at dateline (180° longitude). Forecast time is 12:00 hrs noon UTC (Greenwich) corresponding to local evening time in mainland and insular SE Asia (updated: 16 May 2000).
(Source: ECPC)

The ASEAN Fire Weather Information System (ASFWIS) is a co-operation between ASEAN and the Canadian Forest Service. It provides maps describing the current fire weather situation in South East Asia. This system is based upon the Canadian Forest Fire Danger Rating System (CFFDRS) (for further infomation to the CFFDRS refer to ASFWIS). Studies have shown that the CFFDRS is applicable outside of Canada. Currently it is also used in a modified form in New Zealand (see References). In New Zealand the Fire Weather Indices Fine Fuel Moisture Code (FFMC) and the Initial Spread Index (ISI) represent the fire danger in the scrublands. The Duff Moisture Code (DMC) is also applicable in South East Asia, because it potentially describes the moisture state of the upper peat layers in peat and peat swamp forests. All three parameters may serve as a suitable indicator of forest fire danger in South East Asia.

According to the ASFWIS for 15 May 2000 these parameters show various fire weather conditions over South East Asia.

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Fine Fuel Moisture Code

Duff Moisture Code

Drought Code

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Initial Spread Index

Buildup Index

Fire Weather Index

Fig. 12.-17.  Output maps of the ASFWIS (update: 15 May 2000)

The ASEAN Haze Action Online provides the following information:

  • Monitoring: Hyperlinks to institutions involved in regional monitoring and prediction of fire and smoke haze
  • Haze News: ASEAN Transboundary Haze Update (updated daily)
  • Intranet: Information and possible participation in the ASEAN Haze Action Online Intranet Information Services (for associated registered participants)
  • Mobilization Plan: Model Fire Suppression Mobilization Plan
  • Inventory: Inventory and analysis of forest and land fire suppression capabilities
  • Haze Forum: Communication platform on fire and smoke-haze issues in the ASEAN region
  • Calendar: Fire and haze-related events can be identified by a search modus

The newest fire overview map for the Integrated Forest Fire Management (IFFM) project in Kalimantan shows 4 hotspots detected on the 15 May 2000.

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Fig.18 Fire Overview Map for 15 May 2000 of the IFFM project in Samarinda
(Source: IFFM)

See also the IFFN Country Notes.

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