Haze spreads as fire burns 1,700ha of land, forests in Riau

JAKARTA • A forest fire in Indonesia's Riau province that has been burning for more than a week has expanded as the haze spreads to more cities in the area.

The Riau Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD Riau) said that, as of yesterday, the fire had spread across 1,700ha of land, causing smoke in Pekanbaru and Dumai.

BPBD Riau acting head Ahmad-syah Harrofie said Bengkalis regency was currently the worst affected area, as quoted by tempo.co.

Forest fires are still spreading throughout Dumai, Meranti Islands and five other regencies.

Mr Ahmadsyah said the agency was continuing its attempt to extinguish fires in all areas.

Riau Forest Rescue Network (Jikalahari) coordinator Made Ali said that 63 out of 139 hot spots this week could potentially further ignite a fire. However, he said that the air condition in Pekanbaru remained "good".

According to the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency, the air pollution standard index in Pekanbaru and Dumai is still at an "acceptable" level.

The index reached an unhealthy level in Bengkalis as well as five other regencies.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 11, 2019, with the headline 'Haze spreads as fire burns 1,700ha of land, forests in Riau'. Print Edition | Subscribe