Review of Land Fires and Smoke Haze Situation for Second Fortnight of March 2019

1.1 Dry weather prevailed over the Mekong sub-region in the second fortnight of March 2019. As a result, smoke haze from persistent hotspots continued to be observed over many areas in the sub-region. In particular, dense smoke haze persisted over parts of Lao PDR, Myanmar and Thailand on many days, and some smoke haze was blown by the prevailing winds toward northern Viet Nam (Figure 1). Toward the end of March 2019, an increase in shower activities over the southern parts of the Mekong sub-region helped improve the haze situation in Cambodia, southern Lao PDR and eastern Thailand (Figure 2).

1.2 In the southern ASEAN region, during periods of dry weather in the fortnight, isolated hotspots with localised smoke plumes were detected in Riau, Sumatra and Peninsular Malaysia (Figure 3). Elsewhere, scattered shower activities helped to keep hotspot activities subdued.

Figure 1: Himawari-8 satellite image on 21 March 2019 shows widespread smoke haze over the Mekong sub-region.

Figure 2: Himawari-8 satellite image on 31 March 2019 shows smoke haze largely confined over the northern Mekong sub-region, and increase in rainfall over the south toward end-March.

Figure 3: Himawari-8 satellite image on 18 March 2019 shows isolated hotspots with smoke plumes in Peninsular Malaysia and Riau, Sumatra.