GFMC: Meterological Conditions and Fire in South East Asia

SouthEast Asia

RegularFire and Weather Update

08 Sep 2003

I. Monitoring of Smoke-Haze and Active Fires (land-use fires and wildfires)

Regional Smoke-Haze Monitoring

The Meteorological ServicesDivision of Singapore provides a daily updated schematic of areasaffected by fires and smoke haze within the South East Asian region.Additionally, regional surface winds are displayed.

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Latest map of surface winds andsmoke haze/hot spots observed over cloud-free areas
(Source: Meteorological ServicesDivision of Singapore)

Forecastsof winds and surface pressure for the South East Asian region basedon Numerical Weather Product Models are also providedby Meteorological ServicesDivision of Singapore.

Update of regional weather and smoke haze for August 2003

ASEAN Specialised Meteorological Centre, SINGAPORE

1. Review of regional weather conditions in July 2003

1.1 Normal to above normal rainfall were felt over southern Thailand, Philippines, Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore, northern Sumatra and Borneo in July 2003. However, the northern and north-eastern parts of Indochina and areas south of the Equator, including central and south Sumatra, central and east Borneo, Java and Celebes experienced below normal rainfall (Fig 1).

1.2 The Southwest Monsoon was weak in the first half of July 2003 with the mean position of the main rain-bearing monsoon through near latitude 10N. In the second half of the month, Typhoon KONI and IMBUDU developed over the western Pacific near the Philippines and brought increased rainfall over northern P. Malaysia, parts of southern Thailand, and central and northern parts of the Philippines, while areas south of the Equator saw very little rainfall.

2. Review of forest/land fires and smoke haze situation

2.1 Hotspot activities from forest and land fires were much subdued in the region in the first half of the month as a result of the occurrence of increased shower activities. However, with predominantly dry weather in central and southern Sumatra and southern parts of Borneo in the second half of the month, increased hotspot activities were detected over these areas. The number of hotspots in Sumatra and Borneo reached a high of 101 and 65 respectively ( Fig 2 to 5).

3. Status of the El Nino

3.1 Sea surface temperatures continued to be close to normal in the central equatorial Pacific in July 2003. Further to the east near the south American coast, temperatures were 1o to 2o C cooler than normal, while slightly warmer than normal seas continued to persist over the western ends of the Pacific Ocean (Fig 6).

3.2 Most climate models continue to indicate neutral conditions for the rest of the year.

4. Outlook

4.1 With the continued expectation of neutral conditions in the current Southwest Monsoon season, the rainfall in central, north Sumatra, Singapore, Peninsular Malaysia, Sarawak, Sabah, Brunei, Philippines and Thailand is expected be mostly normal in the next 2 months. Rainfall in southern Sumatra, Java and Kalimantan is expected to be slightly below normal, while Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar can expect mostly normal rainfall except in the north and north-eastern parts of the region where slightly below normal rainfall can be expected. (Fig 7).

4.2 The chance of a prolonged widespread dry weather and severe smoke haze episode in the current Southwest Monsoon Season is expected to be low. However, brief periods of dry weather with increased hotspot activities in Sumatra and Borneo can continue to be expected until the end of September. This is likely to result in the brief periods of slight to moderate smoke haze in the region.

Fire Activity Monitoring in Borneo(Kalimantan, Sabah, Sarawak)

The Integrated Forest Fire Management Project (IFFM) in Samarinda provides regulary updatedmaps generated by NOAA-AVHRR showing active land-use fires and wildfires inBrunei and the Indonesian and Malaysian provinces on BorneoIsland.

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Latest fire overview map for Borneo
(Source: IFFM FireMaps)

Fire Activity Monitoring in Mainland SE Asia

The Asia Pacific Network for Disaster Mitigation using Earth ObservationSatellite (ANDES) provides daily fire maps of mainland and insular South EastAsia. The latest maps can be accessed through the ANDESwebsite. The map below shows the latest fire map of mainland SE Asia(Thailand, Myanmar, Lao, Cambodia, Viet Nam).

LatestANDESfire location map of mainland South East Asia.
The map is generated on the basis of two satellite sensors (NOOA-AVHRR, DMSP/OLS).
Source: ANDES

II. Fire Weather and Fire Danger Monitoring and Early Warning

Regional Fire Weather

The Regional South East Asia Fire Danger Rating System (SEA FDRS) is a joint effort between the Canadian Forest Service and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), in cooperation with various partners in Indonesia.

Fire Danger in SE Asia

The parameters for the Fire WeatherIndex (Fine Fuel Moisture Code, Duff Moisture Code, Drought Code, Initial SpreadIndex, Buildup Index) can be found directly at:

The GFMC displays selected and daily updated global andAsia-Pacific ExperimentalClimate Prediction Center (ECPC)  Fire Weather Forecasts.These examples allow a quicklook and provide daily and weekly total forecastsand forecasted monthly totals. For background information refer to the ECPCproducts description page.

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tomorrow week monthly

Fire Weather Index (FWI) forecast for  thisweek (left) and the predictedFWI total for next month (right) for the Western Pacific (1-3) and the PacificOcean (4-6) regions.
The weekly total forecast and the monthly forecasted total refer to 00:00 hrsUTC,which is local noon at dateline (180° longitude). Forecast time is 12:00 hrsnoon UTC (Greenwich)corresponding to local evening time in mainland and insular SE Asia.
(Source: ECPCFire Weather Index Forecast)

Fire  Weather in East Kalimantan

Based on data from six weather stations (Indonesian Meterological Service) the following Fire Danger situation has been determined by the Integrated Forest Fire Management Project (IFFM):

Based on data from six weather stations (Indonesian Meterological Service) the following Fire Danger Rating Index has been determined.

High : Samarinda and Tanjung selor (Bulungan)
Moderate : Nunukan
Low : Balikpapan, Tarakan and Tanjung Redep (Berau)

Average Fire Danger for all six location : Moderate.

The Readiness level for East Kalimantan based and determined on Fire Danger Rating System (BMG), Hotspot , Weather Forecast (, Observed Smoke and Haze, Surface winds, Fire activities report from local fire services is Normal Condition.

For more detailed information, see also: Fire situation report of EastKalimantan (03 September 2003), compiled and analyzed by the Provincial Fire Management Center, Samarinda.The complete(detailed) report willbe sent on request. Contact:

Fire Early Warning Bulletin for South East Asia

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and Project Fire Fight Southeast Asia (PFFSEA) have launched the Fire Bulletin, a weekly analyses and information on fire, haze, and related issues in Indonesia.

III. Further information: 

  • Regional South East Asia Wildland Fire Network

  • IFFN Country Notes

  • Haze Prevention Group
    The industrial initiative to combat haze in SE Asia provides a website which includes information about the objectives of this industrial initiative and projects implemented to reduce wildfires and haze in Indonesia.

  • 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

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