The Meteorological Service of Singapore (http://www.gov.sg/metsin/hazed.html) reports on 21 December 1998 for the South East Asian region ” Some small hotspots were detected over central Sumatera. 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 reports from Badan Meteorologi dan Geofisika (http://bmg.cbn.net.id/) records rainy and cloudy conditions for Indonesia with temperatures between 21°C (Bandung) and 35°C (Palu) with relative humidity ranging from 52% up to 98%. In Central Sumatera the weather forecast for the hotspot areas detected by the NOAA AVHRR station of the FFPCP project is minimum temperature 22 °C and maximum temperature 33°C with relative humidity ranging from 52-95 % for Pekanbaru. The forecast predicts rain for tomorrow. In Jambi temperature ranges from 24-31 °C with relative humidity from 67-95%, the forecast is rain. Special caution in this area is necessary. The general forecast for whole Indonesia is cloudy and rainy.
The FFPCP project in Palembang records 21 hotspots on 21 December 1998 with a detection threshold of 320 K in Sumatera. The burning activities detected by the NOAA AVHRR sensor are land clearing fires. Attention must be given in these areas to prevent the escape of these land-use fires into surrounding vegetation.
Fig.1. Fire Overview Map for 21 December 1998 of the FFPCP project in Palembang
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.