SAF and SCDF teams fighting Palembang fires in 'difficult conditions'

SAF and SCDF officers working to prepare a Chinook helicopter for firefighting duties in Palembang.
SAF and SCDF officers working to prepare a Chinook helicopter for firefighting duties in Palembang.PHOTO: MINDEF

SINGAPORE - Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Law K. Shanmugam said on Wednesday (Oct 14) night that the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) and the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) teams in Palembang, Indonesia, are fighting fires in difficult conditions.

Mr Shanmugam said in a Facebook post: "Our SCDF and SAF officers, together with others, have been carrying out aerial firefighting operations in Palembang. Conditions are challenging, with poor visibility and dense haze."

"The firefighting is taking place in difficult conditions. Our thoughts are with our officers," he added.

The SAF deployed three aircraft and 34 personnel to Indonesia last Saturday (Oct 10), after the Indonesian authorities accepted offers of aid from Singapore on Oct 7.

They were accompanied by a six-man Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team (Dart) from the SCDF, together with a 5000-litre heli-bucket to help with aerial firefighting operations.

The current haze crisis has affected millions across the region in recent weeks.

Indonesia has launched two drones to patrol the skies over fire-prone areas in a bid to give emergency workers real-time alerts on hot spots, allowing them to respond faster to the fires and put them out before they spread to other areas.

Apart from Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, Russia and China have also stepped up to help.