Forest Fires Smoke Shut Down Jambi Airport

Forest Fires Smoke Shut Down Jambi Airport

29 September 2009

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Indonesia — Forest fires in Sumatra have shutdown the Sultan Thaha Airport in Jambi since Tuesday noon, as smoke grew thicker after haze returned to the province last weekend.

“There were several uninterrupted flights from and to the airport, but after 10:30 the haze was getting thicker with visual range was only about 500 meters,” head of the airport Basuki Mardianto said.

Basuki said the airport had to be closed until the aerial visual range around the airport return to normal. Many flights were delayed and hundreds of passengers have to postpone their trip for uncertain extent of time.

A disappointed passenger told Tempo that the disruption has prevented him from attending a conference on climate change in Thailand. Arif Mundar, who said he was supposed to represent Indonesia at the meeting slammed the government for its lack of capacity in containing forest fire.

Arif said license and permit from the government for plantation companies to clear Sumatra peat land for plantation has trigger forest fires.

Based on satellite surveillance image from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the smoke drifts from forest fires spots outside Jambi, as no forest fires spotted in the the province on September 28th.

Some of the spotted fires in Sumatra include 32 in South Sumatra, 17 in Riau Province, 12 in Bangka Belitung Province, 11 in Lampung Province, two in North Sumatra, and one in West Sumatra.

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