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Hazewatch:Feb 08

Updated On: Feb 25, 2008

Forest and land fires in several cities in Riau Province have not been overcome yet. Ten out of 23 hotspots were found in Riau. Fire fighting task force of the Ministry of Forestry are still working to put off the fires. Rully Syumanda of Walhi Indonesia estimated that some 2,000 hectares - almost the size of 2,000 football fields - were up in smoke in Riau province. If there is no significant human effort or heavy rain, the haze could spread further to Malaysia and Singapore. Land burning activities are beginning to take place in Jambi. Head of Forestry Office of Jambi, Budidaya said to Kompas there were 15 spots of land fires in an ex-concession area of Asialog and subsidiary of Sinar Mas Group.

Singapore's National Environment Agency said that drier weather conditions in the past two weeks in February have elevated Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) levels of 51 to 54 in recent days (moderate). Although some hot spots have been detected in Riau, the prevailing north-easterly monsoon winds have kept the haze away from Singapore. The north-east monsoon season is expected to last till late next month, but the wind directions could change occasionally.

Sources:
Air quality is deteriorating (Kompas, Tuesday, February 19, 2008)
Haze begins to cover Jambi (Kompas, Monday, February 25, 2008)
Riau fires may bring back haze (Straits Times, February 24, 2008)
S'pore could be facing haze due to Sumatran fires (Straits Times, February 23, 2008)







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