Thousands of Indonesia fires produce thick toxic haze across Southeast Asia as dry weather persists

20 September 2019

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INDONESIA/ SE ASIA –  Largely dry conditions are expected to continue across parts of Southeast Asia over the next couple of days as crews continue to fight fires raging in the region.

The Associated Press (AP) has reported that “the Indonesian Disaster Mitigation Agency detected 4,319 hotspots across the country on Thursday.”

Most of the fires have been deliberately set for agricultural purposes, which is typical for the time of year. But excessively dry conditions across this part of the world are providing plenty of fuel for fires to spread.

Dry conditions will also exacerbate the threat from the fires by spreading smoke throughout the region. Parts of Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and southern Thailand are reporting impacts from the haze.

Hazy conditions are reducing visibility and creating dangerous air quality for many, especially sensitive groups.

According to the New York Times, parts of Indonesian Borneo and Sumatra announced school closures while “many thousands” have become sick due to the thick smoke.

“Poor visibility caused by smoke has caused delays of flights at several airports in Indonesia and Malaysia,” the AP reported.

Dry conditions are forecast to continue across much of region through the weekend, which means most locations will continue to experience haze.

While spotty showers and thunderstorms may spread into southern parts of the Kalimantan island of Indonesia, those will likely not be enough to mitigate the fire danger.

More persistent showers could, however, help to clear out the air for some places impacted by smoke.

Early next week may offer some relief to parts of the region as showers and thunderstorms look to spread west into Thailand, Singapore and Sumatra.

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