The Meteorological Service of Singapore reports on 13 May 1999 for the South East Asian region: “Winds over the region were predominantly south-easterly. Small hot sots were detected over central Sumatra”.
Fig.1. Regional Surface Winds and Haze/Hot Spot Map, 13 May 1999
(Source: Meteorological Service of Singapore)
The latest NOAA14 satellite image showing hot spot locations in central Sumatra. “Hot spots” can be identified as red dots. As the imageries are taken from satellites, overlying clouds if present will invariably obscure areas with smoke haze and hot spots.
Fig.2. Latest NOAA Satellite image for central Sumatra of 13 May 1999
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 13 May 1999 these parameters show various fire weather conditions over South East Asia. The Initial Spread Index (ISI) is very high in southern Sumatra and Java.
Fig.3., 4.and 5. FFMC, ISI and DMC output of the ASFWIS
The Indonesian Meteorological Agency Badan Meteorologi dan Geofisika forecasts cloudy to rainy conditions for Indonesia. Relative humidity is ranging from 54% up to 98%, and maximum temperatures were measured representative for following areas:
Palembang Samarinda Ujung Pandang Dili Bandung 32°C 33°C 32°C 32°C 29°C
The Forest Fire Prevention and Control Project (FFPCP) in Palembang (Sumatra) declares that for the moment no hot spots were detected. For the last map showing hot spots see 5 May fire update.
Summary: Although the current fire weather conditions do under normal conditions not favour extensive land clearing by fire or escaping wildfires in Indonesia, 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.