GFMC: Meterological Conditions and Fire in South East Asia

Fires in SouthEast Asia

10 June 2009

Ministry, DOE To Monitor Haze Condition With Help From Relevant Agencies

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment hopes to be ready for any eventualities, including the haze, in view of the expected dry spell from June to September, with the help of relevant government agencies.

According to a statement from the ministry, the National Haze Committee that was formed and the relevant agencies have been directed to prepare for any eventualities.

The agencies will work with the police, Road Transport Department, Department of Agriculture, RELA and the Fire and Rescue Department.

Apart from these agencies and department’s the ministry would also seek the cooperation of commercial airlines like Malaysia Airlines (MAS) and Air Asia to report on open burning.

The statement added that a pilot project had also been initiated between Malaysia and Indonesia with the expertise of the Global Environment Centre to ensure sustainable management of peat to reduce the risk of peat fire in Rokan Hilir and Riau in Indonesia.

The statement added that in many parts of the country, the quality of air had dropped while the Air Pollution Index (API) recorded was between 51 and 100, causing slight hazy conditions.

According to the Meteorological Department of Malaysia yesterday, Prai, Bayan Lepas (Penang), Subang, Petaling Jaya (Selangor), Melaka and Kuantan (Pahang), had experienced a drop in visibility (between 6km and 9km).

The Department Of Environment (DOE) would continue to monitor the situation and API throughout the country said the statement.

The ministry advised the public to refrain from any open burning activities and urged those who came across small fires or open burning, to report immediately to the Fire and Rescue Department at 03-88880036 or the DOE at 1-800-88-2727.

In the past 10 years, fires have burnt over 2 million hectares of peatlands in Indonesia and peatland fires were responsible for the majority of haze which regularly engulfed Malaysia.

Published by, 9 June 2009

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 (current) and last month Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) in Singapore:

With the onset of the traditional rainy season in the northern ASEAN region, hotspot activities were mostly subdued during the month. Isolated hotspot activities were detected mainly in Myanmar and Vietnam.

In the southern ASEAN region, hotspot activities were mostly subdued during the first three weeks of May 2009. However, in late May 2009, the dry weather conditions led to an increase in hotspot activities in Sumatra. Scattered hotspots with localised smoke plumes were detected mostly in northern and central Sumatra. A high of 346 hotspots were detected on 25 May 2009. The smoke haze forced the closure of some schools in the Riau province on 26 May 2009. Isolated hotspot activities were also detected in West Kalimantan and Sarawak towards the end of May 2009.

NOAA-18 satellite picture on 25 May 2009 showing a surge in hotspot activities in Sumatra
during a dry period in late May 2009. Scattered hotspot activities were detected in
northern, central and southern Sumatra.

NOAA-18 satellite picture on 30 May 2009 showing isolated hotspot activities detected in
West Kalimantan and Sarawak during the brief, dry period in the region.


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:

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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