Indonesia's hot spots

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Hotspots in Indonesia's Western Kalimantan province are on the rise with a haze blanketing the region, even as authorities assess the situation as harmless.

KALIMANTAN (REUTERS) - Firefighters do what they can to battle burning peat in West Kalimantan.

Fires in Indonesia, often set in the dry season by companies clearing land for plantations, cause an annual crisis.

Residents say they need the help.

"This is for protection, in order to stop fire from going through our housing compound. We are still afraid though as fire will burn inside the peat land, undetected. So we hope that the local authorities assign firefighters to frequently patrol or standby here," said local resident Munir.

Home to the world's third-largest area of tropical forests, Indonesia has been criticized by activists and neighbors for failing to stop the annual fires.

Indonesian authorities say the fires are relatively harmless.

But Indonesia did impose record fines against a local plantation company earlier this month - hoping to deter companies and individuals from using fire to clear land.

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