Haze in West Sumatra thickens

     Haze in West Sumatra thickens

22 May 2008

published by www.antara.co.id

Sumatra, Indonesia — The haze which has been enveloping West Sumatra for the past two days following the emergence of hot spots in a number of locations became thicker on Thursday but domestic and international flight schedules were not yet affected.

Air transport activities were proceeding normally and had remained unaffected up to Thursday, the chief of Minangkabau International Airport (BIM)`s operations division, Satyah Anggara, said here on Thursday.

The haze did not disturb visibility so that flights could go on as scheduled, he said.

“No flight has been canceled or postponed, flight activity is still normal,” he said.

Meanwhile, Amarizal, a spokesman of the Tabing Padang meteorological and geophysics office, said visibility was still normal despite the haze.

He suspected the haze had come from West Sumatra`s neighboring provinces of Jambi and Bengkulu.

However, there might be also hot spots in West Sumatra`s forests as the province was entering the dry season.

“It`s possible part of the haze is from hot spots in West Sumatra,” he said.

Last Tuesday, the NOAA (US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) Satellite 18 had detected tens of hot spots in West Sumatra which were causing haze.

Data from the forest service and the natural resources conservation agency showed that there were 27 hot spots in the province on May 17, 2008.

The hot spots emerged because of forest fires and fires created to open new farming areas, a local forestry service officer said.

Of the 27 hot spots, 17 were found in Dharmasraya District, nine in Pesisir Selatan District, two in Sijunjung District, two in Pasaman District, and two in Lima Puluh Kota District.

He reminded local farmers not to put forest trees on fire as such acts were violation of Government Regulation No. 4/2002 which bans the burning of trees in forest areas.

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