GFMC: Meterological Conditions and Fire in South East Asia

SouthEast Asia

RegularFire and Weather Update

16 August 2005

Current Media Information:


GFMC on-site Report from Sumatra

The following report has been based on a helicopter survey around Simpang Kubu, west of Dumai and north of Duri, in the center of the current smoke and haze pollution (geographic location: 01 41.986′ N – 100 53.096′ E). In this region some equipment and ca. 100 firefighters are working on the fires. Reinforcement of Malaysian firefighters may assist the local crews.

The fires are predominantly typical, very numerous small-scale land-clearing fires. At moment the contribution to the smoke by large-scale “industrial” land-clearing in this area is not clear, but it occurred in neighbouring areas earlier this year. Hundreds of individual fires that are burning in the area currently and the new ones that continue to be lit by locals are difficult if not impossible to control.

The report indicates that no forest is burning. Fires occur rather in grasslands (resulting from previous land-clearings), scrub land (belukar), woody slash from secondary forest re-growth, some 2-4 year old palm oil plantations. On late 15 August 2005 winds are reverse from what they were a few days ago, (currently blowing towards NW instead of NE in the past days, see below). 

South of Simpang Kubu some scattered rainshowers have been recorded beginning 11 August 2005, but prior to this there were 12 – 20 days without rain in some places. Currently smouldering fires contribute significantly to the regional smoke-haze.


Latest satellite scenes:

The latest satellite imagery, captured by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite on 16 August 2005, shows various fires burning in Sumatra and illustrates the smoke plume trajectory from those peat fires.

Although it is sometimes difficult to distinguish smoke from clouds, the infrared-enhanced view can penetrate the smoke in places. In this type of image, vegetation is bright green, clouds are white or light blue, and smoke becomes almost transparent in many places. Water is dark blue (nearly black).

16 August 2005
3:30 hrs UTC
(Image courtesy MODIS)

True colour: Bands 1-4-3

False Colour: Bands 7-2-1

The links provide a 500m resolution for both scenes

The most recent  NOAA-12  images from 15 August 2005 show large HTE areas (Source: Meteorological Services Division, National Environment Agency, Singapore).

For the mosaic image, a couple of SPOT Quicklook images from the Centre for Remote Imaging, Sensing and Processing (CRISP) at the National University of Singapore have been superimposed on a MODIS-Terra image of 26 June 2005. This is supposed to show that the current fires are in the same location as those of June this year.

See also earlier GFMC Updates:

21 January 2005:

6 February 2005:

28 February 2005:

15 August 2005:

and others displayed on the “current” and “archive” website of the GFMC.

The following information is taken from the following websites of the Indonesian Ministry for Forestry and reflects the situation back in the 1990s when land-use fires burned in the same regions of Sumatra, especially in Riau Province in a similar way as they continue in 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.

click here to enlarge (13 KB)

Latest map of surface winds 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 updated maps generated by NOAA-AVHRR showing active land-use fires and wildfires in Brunei and the Indonesian and Malaysian provinces on Borneo Island. 

click here to enlarge (13 KB)

Latest fire overview map for Borneo: 15 December 2004
(Source: IFFM Fire Maps)

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.

Latest example of a SEA FDRS product:
The Fire Weather Index (FWI) values shown on the map are numerical ratings of fire intensity. 
Information from the Initial Spread Index (ISI) and Build Up Index (BUI) is combined to provide a numerical rating of fire intensity. 
This index is used to indicate the difficulty of fire control based on the head fire 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 and Asia-Pacific Experimental Climate Prediction Center (ECPC)  Fire Weather Forecasts. These examples allow a quicklook and provide daily and weekly total forecasts and forecasted monthly totals. For background information refer to the ECPC products description page.

click here to enlarge (19 KB)

click here to enlarge (19 KB)

click here to enlarge (19 KB)

click here to enlarge (19 KB)

click here to enlarge (19 KB)

click here to enlarge (19 KB)

tomorrow – week – monthly

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


Print Friendly, PDF & Email
WP-Backgrounds Lite by InoPlugs Web Design and Juwelier Schönmann 1010 Wien