Battle to prevent Indonesian fires spreading haze

Battle to prevent Indonesian fires spreading haze

1 August 2006

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Borneo, Indonesia — Indonesian firefighters are trying to control more than 170 fires on the Indonesian part of Borneo island to prevent haze spreading to neighbouring countries.

More than 200 firefighters are working to contain the fires believed started to clear land at 171 hotspots in four provinces on the island.

A forestry ministry spokesman says another 24 blazes are being fought in Sumatra.

He says satellite imaging showed 18 hotspots in the Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak on Borneo.

Officials say most fires appeared to have been started to clear land for commercial timber or palm oil plantations.

In 1997 and 1998, a haze caused mainly by Indonesian forest fires enveloped parts of Southeast Asia for months, losing the region an estimated $US9 billion due to a disruption of air traffic and other business.


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