Grahame Applegate, fires programme at CIFOR: "No sooner had the ink dried on the ASEAN Regional Haze Agreement last June when meteorologists announced El Nino was already well under way. It seems Indonesia and its neighbors are in for another six months of fires and smoke costing millions of dollars in economic losses, health costs and environmental damage. (JP 3/Aug/02)

Prolonged droughts and forest fires will continue to hit the country during the dry season as more and more protected forests are destroyed by illegal logging, the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi) warned (JP 16/Sept/02).

Singapore's National Environment Agency said even though El Nino this year was relatively weak, haze could hang over the region until October as dry weather stokes more fires (Reuter 27/Aug/02).

It's time to stop blaming and start acting. Existing technology makes the identification of the hot spots easy. The Bogor-based CIFOR has compared satellite information from the U.S. National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Agency with Indonesian land-use maps. CIFOR's research clearly shows that more than three-quarters of the hot-spots recorded in West and Central Kalimantan in during August occurred in oil palm plantations, timber plantations and forest concessions. (CIFOR, JP 13/Sept/02)

"Poor communities often use arson to defend their perceived rights to land that companies have acquired under Indonesian law. It is a clash between traditional law and the law of the state that could add to existing levels of communal tension. ….Specific fire-related policy advice includes developing transparent systems that reconcile traditional land claims and modern law and thus discourage people from seeking their own searing brand of justice." (CIFOR, JP 3/Aug/02)

A panel of scientists for the UN environment program reported that a blanket of pollution up to three kilometers deep stretches across southern Asia, from Afghanistan to Sri Lanka, modifying weather patterns & causing serious damage to human health and agriculture, triggering drought in some parts of the region and floods in others. The "Asian Brown Cloud" is a toxic cocktail of ash, acids, aerosols and other particles was the result of forest fires, burning agricultural waste, dramatic increases in burning fossil fuels in vehicles, industries and power stations and emissions from millions of inefficient cookers. (Courier Mail, 13/Aug/02 via P. See also New Sci 17/Aug/02; Guardian 12/Aug; Times 16/Aug)

How thick must the haze in West Kalimantan and Central Kalimantan and in Riau, or other parts of the country for that matter, become before the government is prompted to act? Although the haze, coming mostly from forest fires in Sumatra and Kalimantan, is getting thicker to the point of endangering the lives and health of the people and is crippling the economy in many of the affected areas, we have yet to see any real action from the central government. Instead, we have been entertained by seemingly endless explanations, none of which are credible, by the government about the probable origins of the fires and about who started them and about the need for local governments to deal with the problems by themselves. …We have seen this happening every time the haze problem returns around this time of the year. …Perhaps therein lies the solution. If only the wind would blow some of the haze from Sumatra and Kalimantan over to Singapore and Malaysia, and their governments then made some representation to Jakarta, perhaps then we will finally see some action. Perhaps (JP 24/Aug/02).



Project FireFight South East Asia (based at CIFOR) has been analysing and collating information and data on three themes:

It also publishes a periodical info-brief called Burning ISSUES. This newsletter provides factual, concise knowledge on issues of fire management for policy makers and key actors whose decisions will make a difference to forest and fire management.

Other reports available from

  1. Community Involvement In and Management of Forest Fires in South East Asia.
    Karki S, 2002 - - 357 Kb

  2. A Review and Analysis of Legal and Regulatory Aspects of Forest Fires in South East Asia.
    Abdullah, A., 2002 - - 585 Kb

  3. A Review of Legal, Regulatory and Institutional Aspects of Forest and Land Fires in Indonesia
    Simorangkir, D. and Sumantri, 2002 - - 611 Kb

  4. The Economics of Fire Use in Agriculture and Forestry - A Preliminary Review for Indonesia.
    Gouyon, A and D.Simorangkir, 2002 - - 604 Kb)

Article on forest fires and the expansion of large-scale plantations – (in BI only) see Bulletin Tandan Sawit edisi ke-4 tahun 2002 at

  A 9/Jan/02 Vice President Hamzah Haz (also co-ordinator for refugees and natural disasters) told governors and administrators to take action against companies burning to clear land, as Riau authorities have done (NOTE: reference to successful prosecution of Malaysian-owned plantation company PT Adei – the only one in 2001)
  JP 14/Jan/02 Indonesia's Meteorology and Geophysics Agency (BMG) said it is too early to say whether El Nino is coming or not. The sea surface temperature is rising and remains unstable.
  Reuter 8/Feb/02 Scientists with Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) say El Nino may occur in 2002.
31/Jan/02 MI 13/Feb/02 First hotspots appeared in Riau (Sumatra)
4/Feb/02 SP 13/Feb/02 41 hotspots in Riau: Bengkalis 15; Kampar 1; Kepulauan Riau 2; Dumai (14); Pelalawan (3); Rokan Hilir (3); Siak (3)
10/Feb/02K 11/Feb/02 Fires affecting forests and land around town of Dumai and in Siak & Kampar districts. Local forestry office had no further info. Hotspots bigger than 500ha. 100ha oil palm & HPH burnt to ash at Pelintung, nr Dumai. Strong wind. No rain for 10 days. Smoke levels in Pekanbaru are 'medium', but smoke did not clear until 11am.
11/Feb/02 SP 13/Feb/02 Thick smoke from forest fires affecting 3 towns in Riau: Minas, Duri, and Dumai. Local fisherfolk will not go out to sea. People can't work outside in mornings – health threat. Visibility down to 20-30m.
  MI 13/Feb/02 Environmental Impact Agency for Sumatra reported 14 hot spots at Badan Dumai, Duri and Bagansiapi-api. Bad fires are affecting concessions of PT Tribuana Dumai and PT Bukit Kapur Reksa Riau is affected by thick smoke.
  SP 15/Feb/02 Over 100 hot spots in Riau. Visibility in Pekanbaru down to 50m. Local forestry office says legal action has failed to deter companies as clearing land by burning is cheap. Riau Corruption Watch calls for tough legal action; says sentence imposed on company burning at Tanah Air was too lenient.
  Bus.Times 20/Feb/02 Palm oil traders predict increase in palm oil prices if El Nino hits Indonesia/Malaysia this year
  Dow Jones 20/Feb/02 Dry spell in Southeast Asia will cause an immediate drop in palm oil output; more drastic impact expected six to eight months time. About 15,000 hectares of land in Malaysia have been scorched by fires in the last couple of weeks; nearly 400 hectares were still burning 2 days ago.
  Dow Jones 20/Feb/02 Singapore concerned smoke from Sumatra will affect it, but winds carrying smoke away and air quality still OK.
19/Feb/02JP 20/Feb/02 Haze affecting Riau, Jambi & parts of N. Sumatra. NOAA and the Forest Fire Prevention Control Project detected at least 222 hot spots in Riau – all in forestry concessions and plantations. At least 7 in Jambi & 4 in North Sumatra.
20/Feb/02 JP 21/Feb/02 Smoke from forest fires turns 'day into night' in Riau provincial capital Pekanbaru. Caltex flies red flag showing dangerous pollution levels.
25/Feb/02JP 27/Feb/02 PT Caltex Pacific Indonesia closed schools in oil-rich area of Duri, Bengkalis, Riau due to thick haze. People in Mandau wearing masks outside their homes. Motorists used their lights during the day as visibility only 20 meters.
25/Feb/02SP 27/Feb/02 Forest Fire Prevention Management Project reported 480 hotspots in Riau; Aceh 2; N. Sumatra 13; Peninsular Malaysia 38.
  AFP 27/Feb/02 Rains in Sumatra during last 4 days have helped clear smoke. Pekanbaru (Riau) visibility 6km.
  Via SawitWatch 27/Feb/02 Local NGOs says fires had been burning in Riau for a month but local govt had taken no action. Riau Env. Impact Agency concerned smoke will affect Singapore and Malaysia if wind changes. And that fires could affect 50,000ha of peat forest in Indragiri Hilir & Hulu parts of province if dry season is severe.
26/Feb/02JP 27/Feb/02 100 fires still burning in Riau. At least 69 near Dumai, 17 near Bengkalis, 7 in Siak area; 7 near Rokan Hilir. Many others put out following two days of heavy rain in Riau. Caltex schools in Bengkalis reopened. Fire damage to 10,906 hectares of plantations and protected wildlife forest reserves in Bukit Batu subdistrict in Bengkalis regency, Riau. Includes hundreds of hectares of peat land. Authorities (Bapedalda) conducting an investigation to find those responsible, but lack of staff. Predictions smoke will return to Riau in July-Oct.
  Reut 1/Mar/02 Meterological experts are predicting the return of El Nino this year. NOAA says El Niño would likely return in spring, though its intensity was unclear. Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization said another bout may be approaching. The Australian Bureau of Meteorology has put the risk at double the norm. Southeast Asia produces 25 percent of the world's rice. To avoid famine this year, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organisation last week urged Asia to start stockpiling.
  SH 2/Mar/02 PAN Indonesia says Indonesian government should do more to advise farmers on drought resistant rice varieties to plant, including traditional varieties, instead of using El Nino as a pretext for large-scale rice imports.
  Liputan6 4/Mar/02 (via INCL 10/Mar) Smoke has thinned due to some rain in Riau. Fears that fires are spreading underground where peat has caught light. Police have arrested one field staff of PT Bukit Kapur Reksa about fire damage to 400ha in Dumai.
  Liputan6 4/Mar/02 (via INCL 10/Mar) El Nino to return around July, but not as bad as 1997, says Indonesian Meterological Agency chief. Parts of Java, Sumatra and Kalimantan would experience below normal rainfall and crop failures, health hazards and environmental degradation could result.
  JPonline 7/Mar/02 Fires have damaged 11,500ha in Riau this year – all plantations and logging concessions. Bengkalis badly affected: still hotspots in plantation areas of PT Budidaksa Dwi Kesuma, PT Makmur Platindo Nusantara and PT Panuasurya Agrosejahtera, and in the forest concessions of PT Arara Abadi and PT Rimba Rokan Lestari. About 150 ha protected forest (Bukit Batu) reported burnt.
  A 8/Mar/02; K ol 16/Mar/02 Fires damaged 100ha 'protection forest' on Batam island. Smoke may affect nearby Singapore. Authorities blame dissidents.
8/Mar/02K 13/Mar/02 26 fires in Sumatra – 24 in Bengkalis (Riau); 2 in Labuhan Batu (N. Sumatra)
9/Mar/02 AFP 13/Mar/02 91 hotspots in N. Sumatra (cumulative?)
  JP 11/Mar/02 ASEAN pledges action on forest fires. ASEAN working groups members on fire fighting for Sumatra and Borneo have agreed to intensify early warning efforts and surveillance activities starting in March to September 2002.
  A 11/Mar/02 Fire on Batam still smouldering fanned by strong winds. Area increasing.
11/Mar/02 K 13/Mar/02 NOAA images show 81hotspots in Riau: Indragiri Hilir (5), Kampar (3), Bengkalis (73).
11/Mar/02 AFP 13/Mar/02 360 hotspots in N. Sumatra (cumulative?). Medan's Polonia airport still operating despite haze because 'relying on instruments'.
11-12/Mar/02 K 16/Mar/02 Riau has 500 hot spots: 277 in Dumai (74 in HPH & HTI, 150 plantations, rest 53); rest in Bengkalis, Siak, Kuansing & Indragiri Hilir. V.little rain since Jan.
12/Mar/02JP 14/Mar/02 Container ship ran aground off Belawan, N. Sumatra. Blamed on thick haze in Malacca Straits. Visibility there 2km, but only 800m at Polonia airport.
12/Mar/02 DPA 13/Mar/02 Satellite images gathered by the Fire Prevention Management Project - a joint operation between the Forestry Ministry and JICA of Japan - show a total of 759 "hot spots" in Sumatra. 604 in Riau. [*NB cumulative total?] Other provinces hard hit by forest fires are Jambi, South Sumatra and Bangka island.
12/Mar/02 K 13/Mar/02; JP 12/Mar/02 Env. Minister Nabiel calls 17 administrators (bupatis) from Riau and Kaltn to discuss fire prevention measures. Ministry working with National Aerospace Agency sending satellite images to relevant central and local govt depts.
13/Mar/02 AFP 14/Mar/02; JP 16/Mar/02 Flight carrying pilgrims could not land at Polonia airport, Medan, N. Sumatra, due to 'haze'. 126 hotspots in N. Sumatra.
13/Mar/02 AFP 13/Mar/02 Environment department officials in Malaysia and Indonesia about who is most to blame for smoke pollution in Selangor state. Wind blowing from Malaysia towards Sumatra. 237 hotspots in Sumatra; 70 in Malaysia. Air Pollution Index in KL reaches 'unhealthy' level.
  K 14/Mar/02 Fires spreading in Riau: "coastal area of Riau looks like just after a war". Head of Medan's Health Service of Medan confirmed 20% rise in respiratory cases to around 18,000 people.
  Reuter 14/Mar/02 Health officials told Medan residents to stay indoors as smoke blankets Indonesia's 3rd largest city. Pollution Index in Singapore still 'good', but haze in Malaysian capital KL despite rain.
  ST 16/Mar/02 Centre for Remote Imaging, Sensing and Processing (Crisp) (Singapore) says "the fires seem to be getting out of control" in Sumatra. Fierce fires are also raging in Selangor, Kedah and Johor in West Malaysia.
  JP 19/Mar/02 Environmental activists (WALHI Sumu), fishermen (HNSI), and legal experts (LBH) in Medan threatened legal action against Malaysia for smoke problems from forest fires there. "Many fishermen still cannot go out to the sea, fearing possible collision between their boats, as the night time visibility is only between 30 and 40 meters."
19/Mar/02 AFP 19/Mar/02 Two days of rains have cleared choking haze from north-eastern Sumatra, residents and police said. E coast fishermen can return to sea after a week.
  JP 20/Mar/02 WALHI N. Sumatra blames forest destruction in Mandailing Natal regency on six plantation companies: PT Gruti, PT Mujur Timber, PT Keang Nam Development Indonesia (KNDI), PT Inanta Timber, PT Rimba Mujur Mahkota and PT Supraprimoris Corporation. (overlogging then burning since 1997)
  JP 22/Mar/02 N. Sumatra administration blames Malaysia for not controlling fires. Smoke badly affecting eastern coast of Sumatra.
  Detikcom 22/Mar/02 Indonesian Met Office says El Nino is developing. Effects should appear around July 2002.
23/Mar/02 SP 23/Mar/02 Thick smoke from land clearing and forest fires affecting provincial capital of Jambi (central Sumatra). Visibility 500m. No local govt response to burning in districts of Batanghari, Tajungjabung Barat and Timu and Bungo-Tebo.
23/Mar/02 AFP 23/Mar/02 Banjarmasin, provincial capital of S. Kal, badly affected by smoke. Visibility 10m
24/Mar/02 MI 27/Mar/02 Much of Sumatra cloudy due to rain. 13 hotspots – 11 in Kampar & 2 in Bengkalis
5/Apr/02 OCHA 5-12 Apr Floods inundated 11 villages in Petasia Sub-district, Morowali District, in Central Sulawesi, with water levels reaching up to several metres. Around 1,900 households or about 9,000 persons sought refuge in surrounding areas.
12/Apr/02 OCHA 12-19 Apr Floods in Waikabubak, West Sumba District, killed one person and destroyed more than two-dozen houses as well as crops on 11 April. Rain induced landslide on Tuesday (16 Apr.) killed one child and destroyed four houses in North Sibolga, South Tapanuli District, North Sumatra. Heavy rains on Thursday (18 Apr.) caused inundation in Arso Sub-district, Jayapura. 150 houses were flooded and more than 1,000 people were affected.
  Reuters 6/May/02 El Nino could pose Asian drought risk; many Indon crops at risk
Early Jun ST 12/Jun/02 Sampit (C.Kal logging centre) covered in smoke
10/Jun/02 Reuters 10/Jun/02; ST 12/Jun/02 ASEAN members sign fires agreement which for first time sets out the obligations of member states and details the preventive measures and responses expected of them. Treaty has to be ratified by individual parliaments. Doubts whether Jakarta will take much notice. Under the agreement, a coordinating body - the Asean Coordinating Centre for Trans-boundary Haze Pollution Control - will be set up to monitor air pollution.
10/Jun/02 AFP 10/Jun/02 Haze in Palangkaraya (C.Kal) Visibility under 1km.
11/Jun/02 ST 12/Jun/02 Haze covered parts of Kalimantan and Sumatra. Palangkaraya, C. Kal, thick haze limited vision to 200 m. Kalimantan had five 'hot spots', while Sumatra had 15 'hot spots', located mostly in Riau province.
11/Jun/02 ST 12/Jun/02 Malaysian-Indonesian joint venture in oil palm cultivation PT Adei has been convicted for burning 1,500ha in 2000, The Indonesian High Court's decision orders the Riau-based company to pay a fine of 100 million rupiah and an eight-month jail term, but not clear who would serve the sentence. Deputy Env minister Liana Bratasida said the authorities were close to prosecuting Jatim Jaya Perkasa (also Indo-Malaysian), and 3 other companies for similar offences.
  JP 27/Jun/02 The North Sumatra office of the Meteorology and Geophysics Agency (BMG) has predicted that El Nino will start affecting North Sumatra's coastal areas next month and will reach a peak between August and October
  DPA via P 3/Jul/02 Rukasi, an official at West Kalimantan's environmental office, said thick smoke from land clearing activity had enshrouded the provincial capital Pontianak, declared "dangerous" for health in the past few days, especially at night.
  JP 5/Jul/02 Local youths and health officials distributed 1,000 masks to motorists in Pontianak (WKal)in response to the thick smoke. Antara reported that the city had been blanketed by smoke for nearly two weeks, disrupting the daily activities of residents.
  JP 6/Jul/02 At least 1,825 hot spots have emerged in Sumatra and Borneo during the first half of this year, announced Environment Minister Nabiel. The largest number were detected in Riau province, where at least 1,615 forest fire incidents have taken place. Nabiel argued that many of the fires could not be prevented from spreading as firefighters could not reach them in time. "Moreover, the major problem is that most of our forests have been badly damaged. The humidity level in such forests is low, making them prone to fires," he said.
7/Jul/02 Antara 9/Jul/02 NOAA shows 21 hot spots in W. Kal: Ketapang (5), Sintang (1), Pontianak (15).
  AFP 8/Jul/02 Haze has been blanketing Pontianak (WKal) in the early morning causing delays in flights, officials said. Visibility only 50m. No rain for a week. Smoke from land clearing fires round city.
8/Jul/02 Antara 9/Jul/02 Indonesia`s Research and Technology Minister Hatta Rajasa has denied that forest fires cause the smog that has blanketed certain parts of the country. "The smog comes from bush fires not forest fires".
9/Jul/02 OCHA 5-12 July Minister for the Environment Nabiel Makarim said that the government would take four companies in Riau Province to court for burning forest areas. Drought caused a significant loss in rice production in Java, prompting government officials in East and Central Java to try cloud seeding, although there was only 30% of possibility to succeed.
9/Jul/02 10/Jul/02 Env. Minister Nabiel criticised Indonesian judiciary as corrupt and inept in dealing with fires cases – specifically those in Riau.
9/Jul/02 JP 10/Jul/02 Nabiel said government investigators were still investigating four companies allegedly involved in burning forest areas for land clearance in Riau: PT Multi Gambut Industri, PT Musi Mas, PT Bukit Kapur Reksa and PT Inti Prona. The owner of oil palm plantation PT Jatim Jaya Perkasa was releleased by Dumai District Court despite strong evidence that the company had intentionally set fires."The provincial legislative council will ask the judges to explain their ruling," said Nabiel.
9/Jul/02 K 10/Jul/02 W. Kal governor disappointed that no bupatis or mayors turned up to a meeting at provincial level on fires. Only 2 sent representatives; Only 24 of 47 companies invited sent representatives.
11/Jul/02 ST 11/Jul/02 Sarawak Env Dept concerned that smoke and pollutants from fires around Pontianak " will soon be carried into the state by the south-westerly winds that are now blowing in our direction".
11/Jul/02 JP 12/Jul/02 West Kalimantan Governor Aspar Aswin declared his province on top alert on Thursday, urging local governments to tackle forest fire outbreaks which have been blanketing the province in a haze for the past week.
  JP 12/Jul/02 This year's drought has dealt a severe blow to East Java province causing the country's major rice producing area to suffer losses to the tune of Rp 8.4 bn.
  JP 12/Jul/02 Medan, N. Sumatra has been affected by haze for the past week. Visibility 2,000 meters. Smoke comes from 3 nearby areas Asahan, Labuhan Batu, South Tapanuli..Also in Mandailing Natal. 180 hotspots in North Sumatra, Riau (Bengkalis & Indragiri) and Malaysia. Head of N. Sumatra Forestry service, Darori, said his office could do little to prevent the annual forest fires. "We do everything we can every year, but it seems as if forest encroachers are faster and smarter in burning down forests."
14/Jul/02 BI 16/Jul/02 Number of hot spots (Dept of Forestry figures): N. Sumatra 88; Riau 167; W.Kal 40; CKal 27.
16/Jul/02 AP 17/Jul/02 Heavy rain drenched part of Kalimantan extinguishing most of the forest fires burning there. The number of fires decreased from 129 Tues to 10 on Weds.
  B Post 17/Jul/02 Haze from forest fires in Indonesia blankets Satun town in Thailand
  AP 17/Jul/02 Thailand has warned residents of five southern provinces about health risks posed by smoke drifting across the area from forest fires in Indonesia
  ST 18/Jul/02 Article questioning whether ASEAN agreement on fires a few weeks ago is 'just hot air' – good account of ASEAN initiatives.
  JP 23/Jul/02 Haze resulting from bush and forest fires continues to prevail in Riau and Central Kalimantan. Pekanbaru – thick smoke for 7 mornings running. Satellite observation showed that the number of hot spots had sharply decreased from 303 on July 9 to only about 30 over the weekend, but the presence of the haze indicated that forest fires, which normally occur during the dry season, had not disappeared. In Central Kalimantan, bush fires went on as local farmers prepared their lands for the upcoming planting season. The fires on Trans Kalimantan highway, particularly between Palangkaraya and Sampit. More than 100 hotspots on Friday, up from only one the previous day.
  JP 25/Jul/02 Drought leaves rice belt in W. Java facing harvest failure: "We had estimated since last October that we could only serve some 65,000 hectares during the dry season. But the farmers are cultivating some 90,000 hectares, which is well above our capacity," head of Indramayu Irrigation Agency's operational division, Rukanda, said. 8,000 hectares out of 110,000 hectares of paddy fields in the regency have been declared a failure. Another 4,700 hectares are severely hit by the current drought.
26/Jul/02 SP 27/Jul/02 Thick smoke returns to the city of Jambi. The local forestry department had no figures & only said that last week there were only 18 hotspots in the province. (sic!)
  BP 27/Jul/02 C. Kal Asmawi Agani governor issued a strong warning (circular) against setting fires and promised legal action. Last week NOAA satellite showed 12-19 hotspots. Local deputy head of agricultural office said there would be no fires in plantations as most had started production (sic!). The local disaters co-ordination team had held a meeting and were monitoring + teaching local people in danger zone how to put out fires.
  BP 31/Jul/02 Numbers of respiratory tract infections incresing month by month in Palangka as air quality deteriorates. May 1,896; June 2,051; July (not complete) 1,027.
7/Aug/02 SP 7/Aug/02 Smoke affecting Palangkaraya (C. Kal). Air quality 'not healthy' . Visibility down to 500m in morning. 29 fires around the city. 3,500 masks distributed free to motorists. Smoke problem in Pontianak has reached 'hazardous' levels i.e. over 300 & reached 491 in early am.
14/Aug/02 Reuters 15/Aug/02 Haze from forest fires in Indonesia blanketed parts of Peninsular Malaysia, reducing visibility to as low as 1.5 km near the capital Kuala Lumpur.
14/Aug/02 OCHA 9-16/Aug/02 Officials at W. Kal Meteorology and Geophysics Agency said visibility in Pontianak and surrounding districts was between 200 and 400 metres in the morning and 1,000 metres in the evening. At least 2,464 people experienced respiratory problems resulting from the smoke. Smoke also blanketed Putussibau, Sintang, Sanggau, and Sambas. At least 544 hot spots were found in the province on Tuesday and Wednesday, but the number decreased to only 90 on Thursday.
16/Aug/02 Star 19/Aug/02 Malaysian DoE Control Division director Lee Heng Keng said on Friday that the Asean Specialised Meteorological Centre in Singapore had detected 381 hotspots in Sumatra, 267 in Kalimantan and 20 in Sarawak.
18/Aug/02 SCMP 21/Aug/02 One image taken on Sunday by the US NOAA satellite recorded more than 2,000 "hotspots" in Kalimantan. Hundreds were also detected in Sumatra. A separate image recorded about the same time showed only two in peninsular Malaysia, which is experiencing similar weather conditions.
18/Aug/02 SP 19/Aug/02 Satellite NOAA detected 1,428 hotspots in C. Kal and 1,048 in W. Kal
18/Aug/02 JP 24/Aug/02 4,000 hot spots in West and Central Kalimantan (cumulative total??). Most in industrial timber estates and plantations belonging to forestry concession holders. Walhi blamed the government for its failure to enforce the law against companies who used slash-and-burn methods to clear land. But Suwardi, head of the meteorology and geophysics office in Pontianak, claimed that local authorities could not stop local farmers living from burning scrub to clear land.
  BP 19/Aug/02 Smoke problem getting worse around Palangka (Kalteng). Bupati Kotim HM Wahyudi K Anwar "warned people to be careful as a long dry season was expected" via radio programme from Sampit.
  Antara 19/Aug/02 via INCL Training has been given to 2,315 people to anticipate and handle forest fires in East Kalimantan province by the Integrated Forest Fire (IFFM-GTZ) cooperative run jointly by Germany and the provincial government from 1995 to 2002.
19/Aug/02 JP 20/Aug/02 Choking haze thickened in West Kalimantan and Malaysia's Sarawak state, disrupting flights to and from the two areas, local officials said…Officials at the provincial forest fire control center said at least 1,045 hotspots were detected on Monday across virtually all of W.Kal - a two-fold increase on this month's earlier record of 544 hot spots last week.
  ST 20/Aug/02 Malaysia has issued a health alert and an advisory to stop open burning on plantation land as it gears up for a worsening haze. All six monitoring stations in Sarawak registered 'unhealthy' levels of haze The number of hot spots in Kalimantan jumped to nearly 1,000 yesterday, compared to 500 on Saturday.
20/Aug Walhi Kalteng Palangkaraya (C.Kal) airport closed due to smoke. Communications minister forced to divert to Banjarmasin (S. Kal). People in Palangka wearing homemade masks, but carrying on normally, including schools. Local politicians asked governor for sufficient money to deal with annual impact of fires.
  Reuters 20/Aug/02 The Forest Fire Control Centre in Pontianak said air quality was five times above hazardous levels. The Meteorogical and Geophysics Agency in Central Kalimantan said the smoke had worsened in the past two days, forcing residents to wear masks distributed by police."There has been an increase of as much as three times the number of respiratory problems in the past two weeks...I believe the number is going up," said the head of Palangkaraya's health department, Marhaen Laiden.
20/Aug Reuters 20/Aug/02 Malaysia's environment minister said he had sent a letter to his Indonesian counterpart asking Jakarta to take more action on fires.
20/Aug/02 ST 20/Aug/02 As the number of hotspots in Indonesia rises, Jakarta officials yesterday said that they were unable to do much to stop the fires causing the choking haze in the region. Their reasons: Lack of funds and personnel, and the public's ignorance about the health, transportation and diplomatic problems fires can cause. Latest Environmental Ministry data showed that at least 1,049 fire points now exist in West Kalimantan Province. Central Kalimantan is doing worse with 1,430 separate hotspots by Monday night. Ms Liana Bratasidha, deputy minister for environmental conservation at the Environmental Ministry, said: 'We are trying to do our best. But the different agencies involved still lack coordination. Prosecuting offenders remains a difficult task.'
  SCMP 21/Aug/02 Tonny Soehartono, a senior WWF official said the fires would clearly damage the already blighted forests and there was no obvious solution. Some of the fires in Central Kalimantan province appeared to have ignited peat under the ground. Peat fires are particularly difficult to put out and spread easily. Many of the fires were set by small landholders trying to clear land for farming.
  AP 21/Aug/02 Forest and brush fires have raged for the past week, forcing the cancellations of flights and closing of schools, mostly on the island of Borneo. Children and the elderly have filled local hospitals complaining of respiratory problems. Kuala Lumpur was free of haze, but smoke remained a problem in Sarawak.
21/Aug/02 AFP 24/Aug/02 772 hotspots in (W?) Kalimantan.
22/Aug/02 Laksamanet via P 22/Aug Thick smoke forced forestry minister Prakosa to cancel his flight to Palangka Raya where he was scheduled to monitor haze problem, forest fires reports of illegal logging activities.
22/Aug AFP 22/Aug/02 Measurements taken this morning show the air pollution index reached 1,076, way above the 300 mark that indicates a dangerous level," the environmental agency in West Kalimantan province said Thursday.
22/Aug AFP 24/Aug/02 Education officials in Pontianak ordered more than 290 kindergarten and primary schools to close for three days.
  JP 22/Aug/02 Thick haze covering a major part of Sumatra and Kalimantan has reached alarming levels, affecting people's health, transportation and the environment. Visibility was only 10 meters to 20 meters in the morning and about 100 meters at midday on Tuesday and Wednesday in many parts of the two islands."
  Reuter 22/Aug/02 Respiratory and health problems were mounting, schools were closing and some airline flights were delayed in Indonesian areas of Borneo island on Thursday as smoke pollution from forest fires worsened. "The smoke is becoming thicker and thicker every day. We hardly can breathe," said Warsadi, a resident in the West Kalimantan provincial capital Pontianak. number of new respiratory cases was running at 30 people a day, with children hardest hit by those and haze-related eye problems.
  JP 22/Aug/02 "In addition to not enough equipment, we are also facing difficulties getting water to help extinguish the raging fires because rivers here have dried up," said Kusnun, a forestry official in Central Kalimantan. In West Kalimantan, haze has disrupted airplane travel to and from Supadio Airport in the provincial capital Pontianak for the past couple of days, while motorists have been forced to turn their headlights on during the day. "Visibility was limited only up to 50 meters at 6:30 a.m today (Thursday) before it improved to 500 meters about two hours later." Health officials said hundreds of people, mostly children and the elderly, have filled local hospitals and clinics in West and Central Kalimantan, complaining of respiratory and other health problems.
22/Aug/02 JP 23/Aug/02 The government has urged locals to put out the fires causing thick haze over major parts of Kalimantan and Sumatra. Env. Min Nabiel also promised aid to get the job done.
22/Aug/02 AFP 24/Aug/02 Environment Minister Nabiel Makarim said that Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore had complained at the smoke haze. He described the problem as serious: current fires were smaller than in 1997 but were difficult to handle because some were in peatland and difficult to douse.
  Berita Harian 24/Aug/02 (relayed by BBC via P) Malaysian newspaper article v. critical of Indonesian government's attitude to forest fires and air pollution in the region. Indonesian "Foreign Minister Hasan Wirayudha, in a latest statement alleges that he has not received any complaints from the neighbouring countries about the haze blanketing the regional sky".
23/Aug/02 AFP 24/Aug/02 Constant rain from Friday afternoon until Saturday morning brought "tremendous improvement" in air quality and visibility in West Kalimantan Visibility 7-10 km in Pontianak. Rain also improved pollution probl inparts of Jambi, but Palangkara still badly affected by smoke.
ST 26/Aug/02   Fed up with Jakarta's inability to control haze-inducing fires and to help residents of two provinces smothered by smoke, environmental groups are taking matters into their own hands. Nineteen NGOs - part of the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi) - have decided to mobilise emergency aid and sponsor longer-term fire prevention initiatives against haze.The NGOs, from Central and West Kalimantan provinces, will tomorrow launch a new campaign to donate masks, drugs and other aid to people who have been besieged by rising plumes of smoke in recent weeks.
26/Aug/02 OCHA 23-30 Aug Satellite monitoring detected at least 678 hot spots across West Kalimantan last Sunday (25th). West Kalimantan Governor Aspar Aswin led a two-day coordinating meeting of local district heads and mayors in Pontianak on Monday to discuss efforts to cope with the forest fires.
26/Aug/02 SCMP 28/Aug Satellite images show 2,929 hotspots in Kalimantan, Nearly 90 per cent of them were in the western and central provinces. In comparison, there were eight hot spots in Malaysian Borneo. More than 150 hot spots were also detected in Sumatra and its offshore islands.
  JP 26/Aug/02 Scattered rain in Pontianak (WKal)over the weekend reduced the haze for the first time in two weeks. Flights at the local airport Supadio returned to normal. Rain in Palangka Raya (CKal) helped the Pollution Index drop from dangerous to unhealthy. Flights at the Tjilik Riwut Palangka Raya airport also returned to normal. Governor Asmawi Agani said his administration would provide Rp 500 million to help in the fight against the haze. In Pekanbaru, Riau ISPU levels improved to medium risk from unhealthy. Haze stemmed from land clearing activities in and around the city. West Sumatra's forestry office warned the haze could spread there; they had recorded 17 hotspots. South Sumatra had 210 hotspots, Riau had 101 and Bangka Belitung had 78.
27/Aug/02 AFP 27/Aug/02 Fires in C. Kal cause Merpati airlines to cancel flights until September 3. Early-morning visibility was between 50-100 metres (cf JP report yesterday). Tuesday's air pollution index was measured at 700, or 400 points above the danger level. The province's governor Asmawi Gani said Jakarta had donated Rp200 million and some 30,000 face masks to Central Kalimantan.But the donation, combined with his office's own Rp500 million emergency fund, was still not enough to control the fires.
27/Aug/02 WALHI Kalteng 28/Aug So far the worst affected parts of CKal were Palangkaraya, Kab. Kotim and Kab. Kobar. Now Barito Utara also affected. In Muara Teweh there has been rain for 2 days but smoke problems still bad. No DAS flights there. In Palangka visibility only 50m from 8am to 1.30pm. Pollution index over 500; 5,000 masks distributed by WALHI.
  WALHI Kalteng 27/Aug Fires problem bad from Pulang Pisau (part of the former Mega rice project area, 90 km from Plk). Fires and smoke can be seen from the Plk-Bms road and may have been burning for a week. Eyewitness reports seeing Brimob hosing from road near Kalampangan (12 km from Plk), but fire was too far away
  SCMP 28/Aug Forestry expert Bambang Hero Saharjo of IPB, Bogor, said the fires appeared unlikely to die out until February, unless serious action was taken to put them out. He poured scorn on the government's feeble attempts to deal with the problem, saying it had learned little from the annual disasters of the past five years. About 2,000 people in Borneo already were suffering from respiratory illnesses from the smoke, he said.
28/Aug/02 Walhi Kalteng Official air pollution figures for Aug: chart shows smoke levels into 'danger to health' zone.
  AFP 28/Aug/02 Governor Asmawi Agani of Central Kalimantan has issued a circular warning of three years for people who set fires. Visibility around 10 am was just 200 meters and face masks were handed out in the streets as people gasped for breath. In Muara Teweh 180 kilometers north-east of Palangkaraya, the situation was only slightly better.
  Asia Times 29/Aug/02 ASEAN helpless to act against Indonesian fires, despite recent haze treaty because only Jkt can decide when help is needed. Responsibility for protecting resources remains at a national level, and there are no means of forcing compliance even when the problem becomes a regional one. Although Jkt blames dry weather, Singapore's environment agency says El Nino effect is not bad this year.
  AP 29/Aug/02 Visibility in Palangkaraya early Thursday was down to about 30 meters - the worst it has been since the fires began. Palangkaraya airport has been closed for more than a week.Thousands of people, many of them children, have been treated for respiratory problems. Hospital officials weren't immediately available for comment
  JP 30/Aug/02 Palangkaraya has been the hardest hit by haze in recent weeks. Widespread rain cleared the sky over the neighbouring province of West Kalimantan earlier this week. Medical staff at the Doris Sylvanus General Hospital (Palangka) said more and more people were suffering from haze-related respiratory problems. "So far, two children have died of respiratory problems in the hospital," Asthma patients rose from 87 in June to 100 in July and 150 so far this month and those with other respiratory problems rose from 83 in June to 87 in July and to 93 this month. Separately, the head of the Pontianak health office, Oskar Primadi, revealed that at least 2,464 people had experienced respiratory problems triggered by the air pollution over the last one month.
  Guardian 30/Aug/02 Readings in Palangkaraya are currently averaging well over 1,000. "This morning I could see less than 50 metres," Hidayat said. "Visibility usually improves a bit during the afternoon but we still don't get to see further than a few hundred metres."
  AFX via P 30/Aug/02 Indonesia joined forces with Japan, its top export market for timber, to launch a regional forestry program to help battle forest fires and haze, and rampant illegal logging in its vast archipelago. The Asia Forestry Partnership, involving 12 countries and eight global organisations, will boost Indonesia's forest law enforcement and resources to protect its dwindling forests, forestry planning agency director general Boen Purnama said.
  IHT 30/Aug/02 Singapore's National Environment Agency reported this week that satellite photographs showed more than 800 hot spots on Borneo. Air quality in parts of Kalimantan hit record lows Thursday. Deputy Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was expected to discuss the issue of cross-border pollution with Megawati when they met in Johannesburg. Singapore government promises at least 310 days of clean air per year by 2012.
  New Sci 31/Aug/02 US fires expert Whitehouse explains how to put out underground fires in Kalimantan. These fires may produce more CO2 than all the power stations and cars in Indonesia put together.
  JP 31/Aug/02 The central and local governments are to blame for the continuing forest fires in Kalimantan and Sumatra as they ignored early warnings, said a team of experts. The team, set up under the auspices of the Ministry of Research and Technology, also called on the government to declare the fires and national disaster and warned the government against playing down the team's prediction of the forest fires continuing for the remainder of the year. Bambang Hero Saharjo, IPB, regretted the fact that efforts to tackle the blazes were minimal and even the forestry agencies in Kalimantan and Sumatra were reluctant to investigate the sources of the fires.
  JP 31/Aug/02 ASEAN secretary-general urged civil society groups in the Southeast Asian region to increase pressure on governments in the region to do more to mitigate the impacts of the haze currently blanketing some parts of the region.
  JP 31/Aug/02 Supreme Court has upheld the Riau High Court's decision to sentence a Malaysian businessman named Goby to eight months imprisonment, and to fine him Rp 100 million (US$10,000) for fires at the PT Adei palm oil plantation in Riau in 1999.
2/Sept/02 JP 3/Sept/02 At least three people have died and 60 more have severe problems as thick haze continues to engulf Palangkaraya. Central Kalimantan deputy governor Nahson Taway said the haze was worse than last year's. "We are worried that the problem will persist as the fire spreads very fast across the peat land during the current dry season,…The province needs more help because the haze is getting thicker every day," he said. The central government sent 30,000 masks and medical teams to handle cases in the province. In East Kalimantan, smog was blanketing several areas in the southern part of the province due to the slash-and-burn in the Bukit Soeharto area.
  Gatra 5/Sept/02 Local farmers burning to clear land are responsible for 80% of recent fires in W. Kal, according to satellite evidence analysed by WWF.
  ST 6/Sept/02 Malaysia will send a technical team to Indonesia to develop a framework to tackle forest fires. Malaysian Environment Minister Law Hieng Ding said he had met Nabiel Makarim to voice concern. Mr Law last month wrote a letter to Mr Makarim to complain about the annual haze hazard, which has also hit Brunei, Singapore and Thailand.
6/Sept/02 JP 7/Sept/02 The government adequate precautionary measures to ensure that the longer-than-expected dry season would not trigger further forest fires and adversely affect rice output. Director general for forest management and natural resources I Made Subadia said the government would allocate some US$8 million mainly to educate locals to prevent and stop forest fires. "We have been training our staff in five major provinces of West Kalimantan, Central Kalimantan, Riau, North Sumatra and Jambi to tackle forest fires."
  JP 12/Sept/02 Despite heavy rain over the last few days, thick haze is still blanketing Palangkaraya and many parts of Central Kalimantan, forcing airline companies to indefinitely suspend flights to and from the provincial capital. In Banjarmasin, S Kal, motorcyclists have started wearing masks. The local Health Office has also distributed a total of 10,000 masks to 10 regencies and urged residents to wear outdoors.
13/Sept Reuter 13/Sept/02 Choking haze from forest fires has returned to Kalimantan , forcing residents to wear masks as the pollution index rises to three times world safety standards. Visibility in at least two provinces has dropped to as low as 50 metres over the past few days and all flights to and from Central Kalimantan's airport have been cancelled since the beginning of the month.
16/Sept/02 SP16/Sept/02 Thick smoke has almost closed down normal activities in Palangkaraya. Visibility is only a few metres. Road traffic very difficult. Hospitals not releasing figures of numbers of smoke affected patients. Pollution level is at 'dangerous' level. Burning forest, scrub and land around the city is blamed.

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