PALEMBANG - Smoke from forest fires in the region have once again covered the city of Palembang in South Sumatra. Activity on the Musi river has been slowed by the smoke. The smoke originates from forest fires which occur in forests around the Musi river itself and cause visibility to drop to some 200 meters.
Large ships and small boats that normally ply the Musi river have to be very careful now to avoid accidents on the river. The Trans-Sumatra highway from Palembang to Indralaya has also been covered in smoke. Passing trucks and other vehicles are advised to turn on their lights when entering smoke, but in certain areas the visibility is only ten meters.
According to the Forestry Service in South Sumatra, there are some 400 points where a fire is burning. The fires have been lit across the entire province to create new farmland illegally. The government however still does not succeed in stopping the forest fires, even after more heavy penalties were introduced a few years ago.