Indonesia accounts for almost 80% of hotspots detected in Asean in past month

An officer trying to extinguish fire burning land in Musi Banyuasin near Palembang, South Sumatra province, on Aug 2, 2019. PHOTO: REUTERS

PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Nearly 80 per cent of hotspots detected in the Asean region over the past 29 days are located in Indonesia, figures from the Asean Specialised Meteorological Centre (ASMC) show.

The hotspots caused by forest fires and open burning are driving the current haze situation that is affecting parts of the region, including Malaysia.

The ASMC website ( issues a daily report on the number and location of hotspots.

By adding the number of daily hotspots, which dates back to July 14, it produces a figure of 1,128 as at Aug 11.

Since hotspots that break out in the same location repeatedly on different dates are counted more than once, the number of unique individual hotspots is smaller than the 1,128 recorded in the data collected.

Of the total 1,128 hotspots, Indonesia accounts for 899 sites, or 79.8 per cent.

Indonesia's hotspots occurred in Kalimantan (531), followed by Sumatra (303), Java (36) and Sulawesi (29).

Malaysia, meanwhile, accounted for 71 sites, or 6.3 per cent, of the hotspots recorded.

Thirty-three were recorded in Peninsular Malaysia, 31 in Sarawak and seven in Sabah.

Other Asean countries with hotspots were Myanmar, which recorded seven, and the Philippines with one.

Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam, which the ASMC website categorised as one region, had 150 hotspots.

In an update, the ASMC said the southern Asean region - where Singapore and Malaysia are located - is expected to see dry conditions over many areas in the next few days.

"Hotspot activities are expected to persist under the prevailing dry conditions, " it added.

Meanwhile, the air quality in Miri remained at hazardous levels as at 5pm on Monday.

The monitoring station at SK Kuala Baram 2 in Miri recorded the highest Air Pollutant Index (API) reading of 353.

The second highest API reading at 5pm on Monday was at 299 at the Miri Industrial Training Institute.

An API of above 300 is considered hazardous while a reading of between 201 and 300 is categorised as very unhealthy.

The air quality is categorised as unhealthy if the API is between 101 and 200, and an API of between 51 and 100 denotes moderate air quality.

Two other areas in Sarawak recorded unhealthy air levels, namely Sibu (179) and Sri Aman (108).

All other areas in the country recorded moderate API readings.

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