Indonesian wildfires create agricultural and environmental problems
Emergency alerts were put in place in Indonesia this week as wildfires broke out in four provinces, South Sumatra, Riau, West Kalimantan, and Central Kalimantan. By Friday, hundreds of hectares had burned and at least 90 "hot spots" were detected by satellites in the four provinces. Wildfires often break out during Indonesia’s dry season, which begins in January. The dry weather adds to risks as farmers use fire to clear farmland and drain peatland, which becomes highly flammable. The dried roots of plants can burn down to three feet underground. The emergency alerts will be in place until the end of May, when the dry season ends, as the alert allows government resources to be used to mitigate the risk of fires breaking out of control.