Pekanbaru, Riau — Haze, arising from forest fires, has lowered visibility in Pekanbaru, Riau Province in Indonesia to two kilometers, or two thousand meters, according to information from the Pekanbaru meteorology, climatology, and geophysics station.
“The visibility was only two kilometers this morning, at 7 a.m. local time, due to haze,” Sanya Gautami, the station’s analyst, remarked here on Tuesday.
Haze has shrouded Pekanbaru and several other regions in Riau over the last two weeks, Gautami added. In Dumai City and Pelalawan District, the visibility was only three kilometers, she remarked. In the meantime, the Terra and Aqua Satellite detected 152 hotspots indicating forest and peatland fires on Sumatra Island on Tuesday morning.
A total of 75 hotspots were detected in Riau, 10 in Aceh, seven in Jambi, two in West Sumatra, five in Lampung, 25 in South Sumatra, 18 in North Sumatra, and 10 in Bangka Belitung. In Riau, the hotspots were found in nine districts and municipalities, including 24 in Rokan Hilir, 17 in Pelalawan, 25 in Indragiri Hilir, nine in Siak, three each in Bengkalis and Kampar, two in Meranti, and one each in Dumai and Kuansing.
Of the total 75 hotspots in Riau, 53 were believed to be fire spots, with a confidence rate of between 70 percent and 100 percent. At least 19 fire spots were found in Rokan Hilir, 13 in Pelalawan, 12 in Indragiri Hilir, five in Siak, and two each in Bengkalis and Kampar.
Since January 2019, fires have gutted 4,390 hectares of Riau’s forest and peatland areas, particularly in Bengkalis, Rokan Hilir, Dumai, Siak Pelalawan, Kampar, and Indragiri Hilir. Some 700 people in Pekanbaru suffered from respiratory illness, as haze from forest fires shrouded the city over the past two weeks.
The authorities have advised locals to remain indoors to prevent the insidious effects of haze on their health, Yohanes, secretary of the Riau Health Office, remarked here on Sunday. At least 10 thousand face masks were distributed to motorbike riders, drivers, and pedestrians.