Experts dismiss water bombing for Sumatra fires

Experts dismiss water bombing for Sumatra fires

25August 2005

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An Australian fire expert has ruled out aerial water bombing as method of extinguishing major forest fires on the Indonesian island of Sumatra.

A team of eight fire-fighting experts has returned to Australia from Indonesia, and will now finalise recommendations for the Indonesian Government on dealing with the situation.

The fires have produced severe pollution across Sumatra and peninsula Malaysia.

Mathew Smith, from Emergency Management Australia, says while there has been a request for water bombing aircraft, they would not help with putting out peat fires burning under the ground.

He says they are not difficult to extinguish, but it is labour intensive.

“There are a number of strategies that can be employed to put out peat fires and most of that revolves around flooding the area,” he said.

“So spraying the top area with a large amount of water on the surface and allowing that to filter through and that’s done by hand with pumps andhoses.”


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