Indonesia Mobilizes to Combat Health-Damaging Forest Fires

Indonesia Mobilizes to Combat Health-Damaging Forest Fires

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Jakarta, Indonesia (AP) — Four Indonesian provinces have declared emergencies in anticipation of worsening forest fires that each year spread health-damaging haze across much of Southeast Asia.

The National Disaster Mitigation Agency said Wednesday that emergency alerts in Riau and South Sumatra provinces on the island of Sumatra and West and Central Kalimantan on Borneo will make it easier to mobilize fire-fighting operations and support from the central government.

The agency said satellites have detected 90 “hotspots” or fires across Indonesia, with the biggest numbers in West and Central Kalimantan. Pontianak, the capital of West Kalimantan province, has been blanketed in smoke, it said.

Record Indonesian forest fires in 2015 spread haze across a swath of Southeast Asia and, according to a study by Harvard and Columbia universities, hastened 100,000 deaths.

Fires are often started by smallholders and plantation companies to clear land for planting. Many areas of Indonesia are prone to rapid burning because of the draining of swampy peatland forests for pulpwood and palm oil plantations.

Pontianak resident Reinardo Sinaga said rain in the past few days reduced the choking smoke that had affected the city for the previous two weeks.

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Lack of snow brings fire concerns

Lack of snow brings fire concerns

With half the snowpack average, and nowhere near where it was this time last year, lack of snow has public lands and fire officials nervous.

Lake Tahoe snowmobilers are being asked to ride where there is actually snow.

“This winter has been a challenge for all winter recreation users,” said Tahoe Sierra Snowmobiling Club president, Greg McKay. “Snowmobilers should take extra care to minimize resource damage that low snow conditions present when they recreate and should follow Forest Service guidance.”

Snow is in the forecast for Washington’s Birthday, but accumulations are expected to be light, with even the high Sierra only forecast to see around 4 inches.

Snowmobile operators should avoid bare dirt and patchy snow and should not ride across streams or over small trees or brush, according to the U.S. Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit. Operating snowmobiles on too little snow create ruts in the soil and crush vegetation.

Still no action taken on threatening of forest patroller

Still no action taken on threatening of forest patroller

Indonesia assures ASEAN neighbours a haze-free 2017



Kuala Lumpur (VNA) – Indonesia has assured that there will be no transboundary haze problems plaguing Southeast Asia’s skyline this year, said Indonesian Environment and Forestry Ministry advisor Arief Yuwono.

Speaking at the 19th Technical Working Group and Sub-Regional Ministerial Steering Committee on Transboundary Haze Pollution in Kuala Lumpur on May 18, he said that the prediction was based on 2016’s record as the year saw almost zero recurrence of haze.