After the COVID-19 and Dengue outbreak, a new wave will be hitting Singapore again in 2020.
The Southwest monsoon that occurs between June and September is upon us again
On July 1, 2020, the Indonesian government declared a state of emergency due to the risk of forest fires erupting.
700 hotspots detected
Central Kalimantan, the third largest Indonesian province, is facing over 700 hotspots at the start of this dry season.
These hotspots were detected using satellites, which predicted there’s a high chance that forest fires will start.
According to Channel NewsAsia (CNA), “Indonesia’s third-largest province” of Central Kalimantan declared a state of emergency on Wednesday (1 Jul) after discovering 700 fires.
Water bombing of hotspots
The authorities have said they will increase patrols and extinguishing efforts to prevent the spread of fires.
Water bombing of fire-prone areas is underway, where fires began in May 2020.
Firefighters have also begun cloud seeding, a rain-making exercise to encourage precipitation in these areas.
These operations would last until the end of September — when the dry season ends.
These fires usually start because the land needs to be cleared for plantations, such as palm oil and others.
Fires, however, can get out of hand.
State of emergency
Another two provinces, Riau and South Sumatra, have also declared a state of emergency in view of the dry season.
An official from the environment and forestry ministry, Radian Bagiyono, said that the peak season is likely to be in August.
Haze from Indonesia could be thicker than in 2019
But with tight finances, the head of Indonesia’s Greenpeace forests campaign reportedly predicts that “the haze could be potentially thicker or similar to last year.”
This likelihood is because hot spots could be bigger and spread faster across dry areas left over from last year’s fires.
How will it affect Singapore?
While the NEA hasn’t released a statement about the haze, they have started monitoring the air quality in Singapore and has put up the statistics on their website.
As of 5 July 2020, It has been cloudy over most parts of the ASEAN region today. Localised hotspots were detected in some areas of Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand, Sumatra and Java. No significant smoke plumes or haze were observed in the region.
Over the next few days, the prevailing winds in the ASEAN region are forecast to continue blowing from the southeast or southwest. Showers are expected over most parts of the ASEAN region.
Hence what this means is the prolonged wearing of masks even after the COVID-19 cases have decreased over the months. To ensure safety of yourselves and your loved ones, only head out when you need to and when you do, always wear a mask.