Yes, The Amazon is Burning; Closer to Home, So Are Indonesia’s Rainforests

Yes, The Amazon is Burning; Closer to Home, So Are Indonesia’s Rainforests

The rainforests of Sumatra, Kalimantan, and Riau Islands, have been burning since earlier in August - and it's only expected to get worse.

Image credit: Zulfahmi (via WWF Indonesia)

For the past three weeks, Brazil’s Amazon rainforests (often referred to as the Earth’s lungs) have been burning at a record rate. The number of forest fires in Brazil is a record high since 2013, and is so critical that it’s even visible from space.

Closer to home, the forests of Sumatra, Kalimantan, and Riau Islands, have also been burning for a few weeks since earlier in August.

According to a blog post by the WWF, a massive forest fire had broken at Tesso Nilo, a rainforest in the heart of Riau, not far from Singapore. The massive fires (pictured above) have affected roughly 4,200 hectares of land (the equivalent of 4200 massive sports fields) and was reported to have started on 9 August 2019.

These tropical rainforests are one of the oldest and most biodiverse in the world, home to endangered wildlife such as elephants, orangutans, clouded leopards, tigers and more. Tesso Nilo, in particular, is home to iconic Sumatran wildlife with an estimated 113 to 180 wild Asian elephants two Sumatran tigers, reports the WWF.

Image credit: WWF

Fires Expected to Worsen Due to Drought

The cause of the fire is still uncertain, although it is suspected that it stems from deforestation efforts for cultivation. The Jakarta Post reports that land dispute was also suspected behind the forest fires across Riau.

A rescue team of WWF personnel and local Indonesian firefighters have been trying to put out the fire since the fire broke out on 9 August. Other relief efforts include restoring the affected forest area, relocating the animals near as well as examining the health of the wildlife. Despite actions to alleviate the fires, rescue efforts have been affected by a prolonged drought experienced by the area.

Worldwide attention to Amazon’s forest fires surged last week, particularly on social media with the hashtag #PrayforAmazon trending. Admittedly, not as much awareness has been brought to the forest fires Indonesia is currently battling with.

If you’re looking to help, you can donate to various relief efforts by organisations such as the WWF here.

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Sarah Khan
Sarah Khan

Loves travel, food and her (mildly obese) flat-faced exotic shorthair Khan Solo.


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