In pictures: Wildfires ignite across Indonesia

17

A firefighter in Ogan Ilir, South Sumatra, IndonesiaImage copyright
Getty Images

Image caption

A man watches on as forests helplessly burn on the Indonesian island of Sumatra

As fires rage in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest, the south-east Asian nation of Indonesia is witnessing a similarly devastating ecological tragedy unfold.

The dry season has arrived in Indonesia – home to some of the world’s oldest tropical forests – bringing with it its worst annual fire season since 2015.

Close to 700 hotspots have been identified in fire-prone regions in Sumatra, Kalimantan and the Riau islands.

Fire at a peatland forest in South SumatraImage copyright
Getty Images

Image caption

Fire rages on a peatland forest in South Sumatra

They are often considered to be the planet’s most bio-diverse places but large swathes are being destroyed in the name of large-scale commercial efforts.

Forests provide food and shelter and are critical to sustaining biodiversity. Millions of hectares have been lost to fire in recent decades, having been cleared by commercial or agricultural interests.

A freshly scorched landscape is seen in Riau, IndonesiaImage copyright
Getty Images

Image caption

This used to be lush, green forest. A freshly scorched landscape is seen in Riau province, Indonesia

Trees are important to the world as stores of carbon dioxide. They play a key and irreplaceable role in regulating global climate change.

A helicopter carries water to extinguish a land fire in South SumatraImage copyright
Reuters

Image caption

A military helicopter carries water during a fire-monitoring mission over South Sumatra

Prevailing winds carrying smokes and dust particles have picked up, blowing towards Malaysia and Singapore.

Military planes, ready with water jets, comb the skies above Kalimantan and Sumatra in search of impending fire.

Whether or not the situation can be contained will become clear in the coming weeks.

The forest fire brigade tries to extinguish a burning peatland fire in Riau Province, IndonesiaImage copyright
Getty Images

Image caption

The forest fire brigade tries to extinguish a burning peatland fire in Riau province

A firefighter in Ogan Ilir, South Sumatra, IndonesiaImage copyright
Getty Images

Image caption

What will become of the forest fire situation in Indonesia?

.