Field notes

Fire proves to be a hard habit to break

Destructive farming techniques to ready land for agriculture put Riau at risk of a 2015 repeat, when fires raged on to engulf South-east Asia in toxic haze

In the Indonesian village of Kemang, about 60km from Riau's provincial capital Pekanbaru, a lone firefighting helicopter water bombs a stubborn blaze, now into its second day.

In tight one-minute circuits, the pilot of the Bell 214 - a descendant of the Huey helicopters used by the United States during the Vietnam War - dumps water from the murky Nilo River 600 litres at a time.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 07, 2019, with the headline 'Fire proves to be a hard habit to break'. Print Edition | Subscribe