GFMC: Meterological Conditions and Fire in South East Asia

SouthEast Asia

RegularFire and Weather Update

11 March 2005


Latest satellite scene


Aqua satellite

11 March 2005

06:20 UTC


Aqua satellite

11 March 2005

06:15 UTC



NASA image courtesy the MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA-Goddard Space Flight Center 



Fires burning along the eastern coastline of Sumatra in the Riau province:

Source: Earth Observatory, using data courtesy of the MODIS Rapid Response team.

A prolonged dry spell across Malaysia (top right) and Sumatra (center) was contributing to numerous fires burning across the region, which billowed thick, choking smoke out over the Indian Ocean (left) and the Strait of Malacca (between Sumatra and Malaysia). This image of the region was captured by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite on 09 March 2005. Active fires detected by MODIS have been marked with red dots.
The smokiest fires are burning along the eastern coastline of Sumatra in the Riau province. This low-lying coastal region is home to a variety of moist vegetation ecosystems, including peat forests, which are particularly smoky when burned. The intense smoke is produced not only by burning trees, but from the burning of the peat soil itself. Peat is composed of layers of undecayed plant matter. The layers accumulate in places where decompostion is slowed down, such as very cold areas, or areas where the soil is often waterlogged. During severe dry spells, the peat can dry out and become very flammable. It is possible that the smokiest fires pictured in this image include fires burning in peat (Source: Earth Observatory).

The following is a SPOT quicklook image of the peatland fires in Riau province of 24 January 2005, published by the Centre for Remote Imaging, Sensing and Processing (CRISP), Singapore National University. The images show that conversion fires are systematically set to clear peatland for the establishment of pulpwood (Acacia crassicarpa) and oil palm plantations.

(Source:; courtesy Ó SPOT)

See also earlier comprehensive daily GFMC updates of the same region:




Sumatra Hotspots High Resolution NOAA Image of Sumatra Source: Source: 

NOAA Summary for January 2005

This NOAA hotspot summary is showing high numbers of fires 
in Sumatra in January 2005



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


Regional Smoke-Haze Monitoring

The Meteorological Division of the Singapore National Environment Agency provides a daily updated map showing active fires (land-use fires, wildfires), smoke haze and surface wind directions within the South East Asian region.

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Latest map of surfacewinds and smoke haze/hot spots observed over cloud-free areas.


  • Latest regional active fire („hotspot“) maps:

  • Forecast of winds and surface pressure for the South East Asian Region :

  • Other Regional NOAA and GOES Satellite Images:

  • Update of Regional Weather and Smoke Haze for the last Month :

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: 15 December 2004
(Source: IFFM FireMaps)

Fire Activity Monitoring in South Sumatra

The South Sumatra Forest Fire Management Project provides regular fire activity maps based on the products of the MODIS Rapid Response System:

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 (CFS) and the Malaysian Meteorological Service (MMS), supported by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). Daily updated SEA Fire Danger Rating can be downloaded on the following website of  MMS, and background information on the project can be found at the SEA FDRS Project website.

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Latest example of a SEA FDRS product:
The Fire Weather Index (FWI) values shown on the map are numerical ratings offire intensity. 
Information from the Initial Spread Index (ISI) and Build Up Index (BUI) iscombined to provide a numerical rating of fire intensity. 
This index is used to indicate the difficulty of fire control based on the headfire intensity and fire fighting capability. 


Information on the Indonesian Fire Danger Rating System (Indonesian FDRS) is provided by the Indonesian Bureau of Meteorology and Geophysics (BMG) in Jakarta. The site provides information for fire managers working to prevent and control vegetation fires and smoke in Indonesia. This link points to the English version; a Bahasa Indonesian version can be found there as well:


The GFMC displays selected and daily updated global andAsia-Pacific Experimental Climate 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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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)


III. Further information: 

  • Regional South East Asia Wildland Fire Network

  • IFFN Country Notes

  • 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

  • Media Highlights on Fire, Policies, and Politics


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