Indonesian pulp-paper maker warns of early start to fire season in Sumatra
JAKARTA - Heavily-forested Sumatra could be witnessing an early start to the annual fire season, leading to prolonged periods of haze over South-east Asia this year, a major pulp and paper maker has warned.
In a statement on Tuesday, Asia's second-largest pulp and paper maker, Asia Pacific Resources International Limited (April) Indonesia, said 55 fires have been reported near its plantations in the first five weeks of the year.
The company has deployed more than 300 firefighters to combat the fires, which it expects to increase rapidly due to the dry weather forecasted for Sumatra.
"All it takes is five days of no rain for the land to dry out and the temptation rises in the community to set fires," said Mr M.P. Periasamy, April's head of Technical Services in Riau Province, Sumatra.