The Meteorological Service of Singapore (http://www.gov.sg/metsin/hazed.html) reports on 10 Dezember 1998 for the South East Asian region “cloudy conditions were observed over many parts of Sumatera and Kalimantan. The region is generally clear of smoke haze”. The Meteorological Service states for the near future that: “rainfall in the region is expected to be near or above normal for the next few months. However it should be noted that many parts of Indonesia (Kalimantan and parts of Sumatera) would be in their traditional dry season in the next few months. As such, though extensive and prolonged smoke haze is unlikely for this period, occasional short periods (e.g. a few days) of slight to moderate haze in a more localised manner remain probable”.
The current weather report from Badan Meteorologi dan Geofisika (http://bmg.cbn.net.id/) records rainy and cloudy conditions for Indonesia with temperatures between 19°C (Bandung) and 34°C (Yogyakarta, Palu) with relative humidity ranging from 51% up to 98%. The general forecast for whole Indonesia is rainy and cloudy.
The FFPCP project in Palembang (http://www.mdp.co.id/ffpcp/overview.htm) records 7 hotspots in the province of Riau on 10 Dezember 1998 with a detection threshold of 315 K. The burning activities detected by the NOAA AVHRR sensor are land clearing fires. Attention must be given to prevent the escape of these land-use fires into surrounding vegetation.
Summary: Although the current fire weather conditions do under normal conditions not favour extensive land clearing by fire or escaping wildfires, the consequences of the large wildfires of 1997-98 must been taken into consideration. These fires had caused extensive degradation of primary and secondary forests along with the spreading of “alang-alang” (Imperata cylindrica) grasslands. These grasslands facilitate the spread of uncontrolled fires over large areas. It can be predicted that in November-December with only moderate fire danger new vegetation fires will occur.