Forest Fires Turn Indonesian Sky Blood Red
Indonesian skies turned blood red over the weekend due to widespread forest fires which have been burning for the past couple of weeks.
The fires have plagued huge parts of the country, with thick blankets of smog covering the region of Jambi province and making it difficult for people to see and breathe.
Believed to have started after farmers burned waste crops on agricultural land, the forest fires have forced locals to cover their faces with masks to prevent themselves from inhaling the smoke.
Footage from Jambi province shows the horrifying scenes locals are currently faced with, with one person saying it’s been a couple of months since the last time they breathed fresh air.
As reported by BBC News, one resident in the province who had also captured pictures of the red sky said the haze continued to ‘hurt her eyes and throat’.
Each year, Indonesia is struck by forest fires that create a smoky haze and end up blanketing the entire South East Asian region. A meteorology expert told the BBC the red sky was caused by a phenomenon known as Rayleigh scattering.
As per The Rakyat Post, this phenomenon occurs when sunlight is scattered by molecules in the air, with the smog and dust particles from the blaze effectively filtering out shorter wavelengths of light such as blues and greens.
Astronomer Marufin Sudibyo said that sunlight was fragmented through the dense clouds of smoke particles, hence causing the red appearance.
He said, as per MailOnline:
Rayleigh Scattering happens when sunlight is dispersed by smoke, dust or airborne particles that filter shorter wavelengths and release longer wavelengths that are in the orange or red spectrum, making the area appear to be dim and red.
The fires began burning through the island of Sumatra and parts of Borneo Island last month, causing clouds of smog across the region and in neighbouring countries.
They are believed to have been caused by farmers lighting small fires to clear waste crops from their fields, and have worsened because of a combination of hot and dry weather which has meant that the smoke produced is thicker and is drifting further.
This year’s haze levels have been some of the worst in years, with Indonesia’s national disaster agency stating approximately 328,724 hectares of land have already been burnt in the first eight months of the year.
Although Indonesian government officials have deployed more than 10,000 firefighters to battle the forest fires, neighbouring governments and local residents are adamant that more needs to be done.
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