Big rise in Sumatra hotspots

  • Nation
  • Sunday, 30 Sep 2007

PETALING JAYA: The number of hotspots in Sumatra has increased dramatically overnight from less than a hundred to 332 on Friday.  

However, the Malaysian Meteorological Department is not worried about the haze coming to the country for the moment. 

A department spokesman said Malaysia was not being affected yet because the winds blowing from Sumatra were weak and had not brought the haze over. 

The weather over North and Central Sumatra, he added, has also been wet. 

“Even if there are hotspots, they do not last very long because of the rain,” he said. 

He added that the hotspots were mostly located in the province of Jambi, and they were small fires. 

Malaysia usually suffers from episodes of the haze between August and October when the South West Monsoon blows particles released from widespread open burning in Sumatra and Kalimantan to Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah and Sarawak. 

This year, Penang was blanketed with a light haze several times. 

Foreign news reports have said Indonesia had hired two helicopters from South Korea last week to help douse fires in West and Central Kalimantan. 

Indonesia’s Forestry Minister M.S. Kaban was quoted as saying that the number of hotspots in the two provinces was already on the rise as the country entered the peak season for land-clearing activities.  

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