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:
Out-of-control forest fires burning on the eastern shore of Sumatra (image center) created an air quality emergency for neighboring Malaysia in early August 2005 as smoke shrouded parts of the country. The smoke hung thick over Malaysias busy capital, Kuala Lumpur, where it forced businesses, schools, and transportation to close. This image, created using data collected by the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) on NASAs Aura satellite, shows the density of the smoke in August 2005. Red-colored areas show where smoke was thickest.
The densest smoke hangs over the Strait of Malacca, between Sumatra and mainland Malaysia to the northeast. Winds in this region often blow from the west, spreading smoke from burning peat swamp forest in coastal Sumatra toward the east. The thickness of the smoke tapers off to mostly green and blue values between mainland Malaysia and the island of Borneo, farther east. A less intense smoke plume is located on the west coast of Borneo, coming from a much smaller collection of fires. Perhaps it is the combination of these two sources of smokeSumatra and western Borneothat gives rise to the yellow (higher values) area between the Borneo and the mainland.
Smoke contains many substances, including carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, water vapor, and particulate matter. OMI measures smoke by tracking black carbon particles, or soot, that absorb ultraviolet (UV) radiation, the wavelengths of sunlight that cause sunburns. By measuring how much UV radiation the soot absorbs, OMI provides estimates of the amount of black carbon aerosol in the smoke layer. This method of detecting aerosols based on their interaction with UV rather than visible (rainbow) light allows OMI to measure absorption by black carbon in smoke even if the smoke is mixed with or floating above clouds. Measurements of how much radiation aerosols absorb are important for scientists trying to calculate the net effect of aerosols on Earths energy budget and climate.
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. (Source: http://app.nea.gov.sg/cms/htdocs/article.asp?pid=1195)
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.
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)