Fires of Sumatra

Fires of Sumatra

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Indonesia’s islands are blanketed in a haze as another round of seasonal fires burn across the country. The clouds of smoke are caused by slash-and-burn clearances on the islands of Sumatra and Borneo, where pulp and paper and palm oil companies hold large areas of forest concessions.

This smoggy shroud makes thousands sick, delays flights and pushes air quality to unhealthy levels in the country, as well as in neighbouring states. It has been reported that there are 22,585 cases of acute respiratory tract infections in South Sumatra alone.

. Palembang, Indonesia. Reuters/Beawiharta
An Mi-17 helicopter dumps water on a burning forest in Ogan Komering Ulu.

Indonesia will send more than 1000 troops to fight fires in southern Sumatra, Indonesia's National Disaster Mitigation Agency said. If necessary, the agency will also send in additional helicopters to help water-bomb fires.

Indonesia has vowed before to end the seasonal fires but has failed each time to stop the so-called "haze" that follows.

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Slideshow

A crew member lies on the floor of a helicopter as water is dumped on a burning forest.
. Palembang, Indonesia. Reuters/Beawiharta

A crew member lies on the floor of a helicopter as water is dumped on a burning forest.

An Mi-17 helicopter dumps water on a burning forest.
. Palembang, Indonesia. Reuters/Beawiharta

An Mi-17 helicopter dumps water on a burning forest.

Smoke rises from the forest.
. Palembang, Indonesia. Reuters/Beawiharta

Smoke rises from the forest.

A fire burns in a peatland area on the outskirts of Palembang.
. Palembang, Indonesia. Reuters/Beawiharta

A fire burns in a peatland area on the outskirts of Palembang.

A workers sprays water to extinguish a fire.
. Ogan Komering Ilir, Indonesia. Reuters/Beawiharta

A workers sprays water to extinguish a fire.

Workers carry water pipes through a burnt palm oil plantation.
. Ogan Komering Ilir, Indonesia. Reuters/Beawiharta

Workers carry water pipes through a burnt palm oil plantation.

A worker sprays water to extinguish fire.
. Ogan Komering Ilir, Indonesia. Reuters/Beawiharta

A worker sprays water to extinguish fire.

A man wears a mask as he extinguishes a fire.
. Ogan Komering Ilir, Indonesia. Reuters/Beawiharta

A man wears a mask as he extinguishes a fire.

A worker drags a water pipe to extinguish fire with a motorcycle.
. Ogan Komering Ilir, Indonesia. Reuters/Beawiharta

A worker drags a water pipe to extinguish fire with a motorcycle.

. Palembang, Indonesia. Reuters/Beawiharta
Housing complex near Musi River is enveloped in the haze blankets.