In Kuching in the state of Sarawak, on Malaysian Borneo, the Air Pollutant Index reached 137 earlier this morning, well into unhealthy territory, the Star Online reported. The haze also brought visibility at the city’s airport down to 400 meters, prompting flight disruptions for a second straight day.
The Asean Specialized Meteorological Center yesterday upgraded its haze alert to level 3, the highest on its four-point scale, citing an “escalation” of fires in Kalimantan, the Indonesian portion of the island of Borneo.
“The prevailing dry weather in Kalimantan has led to a further escalation of hotspot activities there in recent weeks,” it said.
“In the coming days, the current dry weather conditions over Kalimantan are expected to persist. Under the prevailing wind conditions, transboundary smoke haze could continue to spread to Sarawak and other parts of the region,” it added.
The ASMC’s haze alert for Sumatra has been at level 3 since Sept. 2.
A weather agency official in Indonesia said strong winds were stoking the fires, particularly in Sumatra’s Riau province.