Fire hot spots, haze could occur this dry season in parts of Asean even as near-to-above average rainfall expected

Transboundary haze may occur if the winds blow any smoke haze from fires to neighbouring countries. PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - Fire hot spots and smoke haze could develop during extended periods of dry and warm weather in the next few months, even as near-to-above average rainfall is expected in most of the Asean region.

The traditional dry season in the northern part of the region has started and is expected to last until May next year.

It usually follows the north-east monsoon, which has become established over the Asean region in the past few weeks, the Asean Specialised Meteorological Centre said in a release on Thursday (Dec 9).

The equatorial Pacific Ocean is currently in a La Nina phase, a natural climate phenomenon that brings wetter weather over South-east Asia.

This year's La Nina event is the second to have developed in the tropical Pacific Ocean in the past two years.

Consequently, near-to-above average rainfall is predicted for many parts of the northern Asean region, except for northern parts of Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam, from this month to next March.

However, fire hot spots and smoke haze could still occur during long spells of dry and warm weather, the centre said.

During the north-east monsoon, the low-level winds in the region typically blow from the north-east or east. Transboundary haze may occur if the winds blow any smoke haze from fires to neighbouring countries.

"Early precautionary and mitigation measures are advised to prevent the occurrence of transboundary haze in the region," the centre said.

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