Some of the most devastating fires the world has ever seen are happening right now in Indonesia, and this unfolding disaster is getting little attention. Annual fires during the dry season have become typical in the last 20 years or so as slash and burn rainforest farming techniques have ravaged this once pristine part of the world, but now this year they are catastrophic. Some 5000 fires have burned in Borneo alone in just the last 2 months.
“A great tract of Earth is on fire. It looks as you might imagine hell to be. The air has turned ochre: visibility in some cities has been reduced to 30 metres. Children are being prepared forevacuation in warships; already some have choked to death. Species are going up in smoke at an untold rate. It is almost certainly the greatest environmental disaster of the 21st century – so far.” – George Monbiot
This year’s fires are shaping up to be some of the worst fires on record, as a stretch of some 5000 km of land is burning, casting a deadly cloud of particulate haze over millions of people. These types of fires are unique because it is not just the trees and vegetation that burn, as most of the fires are occurring in the vast tropical peatlands of the rainforest.
Here, the land itself actually catches fire, not just trees and vegetation…