Friday, November 06, 2015

Wildfires in Indonesia - update

The Indonesian wildfires that I first reported on October 12, 2015 continue to burn. I am going to share a few links about these wildfires. Respitory problems continue. Schools and businesses are closed. Residents are evacuated from their homes.

Bill Gabbert of Wildfire Today writes on November 4, 2015 that the United States sent “more than 21 metric tons of wildland firefighting equipment arrived in Indonesia from the United States to assist firefighters who are dealing with what has been described as ‘almost certainly the greatest environmental disaster of the 21st century.' He also provides a good summary of some of the other effects of these wildfires in Indonesia, including the detrimental effects of smoke.

Most of the Indonesian wildfires may be attributed to plantation companies clear land by burning in order to plant timber trees and palm trees. A Huffington Post Australia (11/2/15) article goes into more detail about how this works and elaborating on what was done differently this year:
The companies have cut canals and dried out the peat, the decaying vegetation matter on or under the forest floor, turning a valuable part of the ecosystem into a veritable tinderbox for fire. Coupled with El Nino climate factors, the fires met with the dried peat to spark a firestorm the likes of which have not been seen in Indonesia for some 20 years. The fires have also gone underground, burning and smouldering in the subterranean peat; these fires are all but impossible to extinguish and will burn almost endlessly, unable to be reached by rains or monsoon.
 The Huffington Post Australia article also includes some good photographs, a couple of videos, a map, and some recent satellite images of the wildfires that continue to burn in Indonesia.

More articles:

VoxyNZ (11/5/2015) Wellington Zoo in New Zealand donating $2000 from their conservation fund to help Indonesia fight the wildfires. The article also speaks to all the wildlife that is affected by these wildfires.

UPI (11/5/15) A good article and video from UPI on the closure of Mt. Merapi National Park because of smoke, school and businesses being forced to close and thousands of evacuations, ecological costs.

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