Australasia's home for timber news and information

Indonesia’s 8000 fires are too much

An environmental think-tank said the Indonesian government could have done more to prevent the 8000 fires burning across the country. Source: Australia Network News

The World Resources Institute has been monitoring and analysing where the fires are burning. Its program director for forests, Dr Nigel Sizer, told Radio Australia’s Connect Asia while Indonesia has tried to help stem the problem, the government needs to tackle the companies starting the fires in the first place.

“Enforcement efforts have been slack and those needs to be tightened up,” Dr Sizer said.

“The other thing that’s needed is much better coordination between the government agencies and also, improving the availability of information.”

Dr Sizer said the high number of fires this year is not an exception from previous years.

“What’s critically different this time is that it was brought to the world’s attention when it hit Singapore in the face at the end of last week, and then Malaysia and now it’s hitting southern Thailand,” he said.

He said the fires, four times worse than they would normally be at this time of the year, are far from over with conditions showing no signs of improvement.

“Some of the fires are burning on heat land with deep heat,” Dr Sizer said. “Fires that burn underground can spread underground and pop out elsewhere. “Those fires can burn on for weeks or months,” he said.