JAKARTA – More than 6,000 firefighters, assisted by the police and military, are battling fires that have ravaged over 42,000 hectares of forest and plantations in Indonesia since January.
The fires are raging currently in the provinces of Riau, Jambi, South Sumatera and west, central and south Kalimantan and the districts of Kota Dumai, Sambas and Ogan Komering Ilir, according to a report by the Antara news agency.
The firefighters are also using helicopters to water-bomb large tracts of land.
The burning of the forests and plantations for agriculture as well as open burning is not new in Indonesia and almost every year this phenomenon sends the haze to neighbouring countries such as Malaysia and Singapore.
Data released by the Ministry of Environment and Forestry shows that between January and May this year, fires have destroyed a total of 42,740 hectares of forest and plantations.
The Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysical Agency has forecast that the drought in Indonesia since June is expected to continue up to October and will worsen the situation.