Jakarta, Oct 1 (IANS) The arrival of monsoon rains in Indonesia has helped douse the raging wildfires in parts of Borneo and Sumatra islands, resulting in improved air quality across the Southeast Asian country, officials said on Tuesday.
Agus Wibowo, a spokesperson for the National Agency for Disaster Management (BNPB), said the latest satellite imagery has shown that the air quality in the affected areas improved and the number of hot spots had also decreased, reports Efe news.
Sporadic rainfall since last week has reduced the number of forest fires and lessened a large part of the haze that had spread out to Malaysia and Singapore, leading to tensions between the countries.
Thousands of chest infection cases were reported from the three countries and schools were forced to shut down while hundreds of flights were cancelled.
The rains were expected to continue for the next few days.
In the last five days, the hot spots have gone down to some 700 from an earlier range of 1,500 to 6,000 in September, National Institute of Aeronautics and Space (LAPAN) said.
The wildfires have swept over some 328,700 hectares of land between January and August.
According to the BNPB, majority of the fires were allegedly started by companies and small-scale farmers for clearing plantations.