Riau Engulfed in Smoke as Forest Fires Rage On

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  • ANTARA/Untung Setiawan

    ANTARA/Untung Setiawan

    TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Smoke from forest and field fires have continued to engulf the Province of Riau, where visibility have dropped between 100-400 metres, according to Pekanbaru's Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency (BMKG).

    "The worst visibility was reported in Dumai and Pelalawan, where visibility have averaged around 100 metres," said the Head of Pekanbaru's BMKG, Sugarin in Pekanbaru on Tuesday, before adding that visibility in Pekanbaru is still around 400 metres - while visibility in Indragiri Hulu regency is averaging at around 300 metres.

    According to satellite imagery of the area at 05.00 local time, only one hotspot has been detected in Riau, which is in Rokan Hilir. As such, Sugarin suspects that the smoke that has engulfed the area originates from elsewhere on mainland Sumatra.

    "The wind is blowing in a northerly direction, which means that the smoke comes from areas south of Riau," said Sugarin.

    The Head of Riau's Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD), Edwar Sanger, said that there are no critical hotspots detected across Riau this week, while scores of hotspot have been reported across Jambi and South Sumatra.

    "It's inevitable that we will suffer from spillovers from the fires," said Edwar.

    The decreased visibility have impacted commercial aviation across the region. Sultan Syarif Kasim II Airport's General Manager, Dani Irawan, confirmed that several flights have had to be delayed and/or re-timed.

    "We managed to get a Garuda Indonesia and a Lion Air flight bound for Jakarta on its' way," said Dani to Antara, before adding that Garuda Indonesia, Citilink, and AirAsia, have retimed their morning services to leave in the afternoon.

    ANTARA