Comments of the GFMC to the Smoke-Haze Problems in Southeast Asia
GFMC Freiburg, Germany, 24 August 2005. As Indonesia still has to ratify a regional agreement aimed at controlling forest fires in Southeast Asia, while the government blames Malaysian-owned palm-oil plantations both in Indonesia and in Malaysia for contributing to the haze, Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi offered his country’s assistance in dealing with the repetitive haze that distresses Malaysians every year. According to a report by The Jakarta Post (23 August 2005) he addressed the central and regional governments of Sumatra and Kalimantan had failed to campaigning for prevention of forest fires every dry season, although the laws against perpetrators are being enforced. So far, there have not been any concrete measures taken as to how a recurrence of these forest fires can be halted. Also Malaysian government’s offer to help to extinguish the forest fires is absolutely consequent as their minister of forestry admitted that many Malaysian estate and wood companies operating in Indonesia were among the perpetrators of the fires.
(Source: The Jakarta Post http://www.thejakartapost.com/detaileditorial.asp?fileid=20050824.F07&irec=6)
The report reveals that poltical leaders in Southeast Asia begin to recognize that the fire-smoke problem cannot just be addressed by dispatching firefighters and sending aircraft. The underlying causes of land-use fires and conversion fires are deeply rooted in the socio-economic development of Indonesia, the external pressure on Indonesia and the still lacking ability to develop and enforce realistic land-use plans and legislation. The central and provincial governments must be enabled to control a situation that so far is uncontrolled and – if no political committment is made – will remain uncontrollable.
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:
Land conversion in Sumatra documented in the latest SPOT 5 Quicklook scenes:
22 August 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.
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)
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: http://www.ssffmp.or.id/ssffmp/fwi-2.asp?id=2
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: http://www.bmg.go.id:8080/fdrs/index_e.html.
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.
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)