Banjarmasin, S Kalimantan (ANTARA News) - The people of South Kalimantan hope that rain would fall again to send away haze of smokes that begin to blanket some areas in the province.

The people in Banjarmasin and Banjarbaru and surrounding areas breathed with relief after rainfall for two hours clearing the air from haze .

Three days earlier, smokes from forest and bush fires blanketed a large area in South Kalimantan causing inconvenience in 13 district areas especially in rural areas.

In Banjarmasin, the city of a thousand rivers, the smell of burnt wood enter the houses causing breathing difficulty.

At Jalan Trikora of Banjarbaru the cloud was still thick on Sunday limiting vision not far from 500 meter, and motorists have to wear masker.

Forest and bush fires hit 13 districts areas since January, 2018 ravaging 1,000 hectares of tropical forests and plantation areas.

Fires destroyed 266.1 hectares of forests and plantations in the districts of Banjarbaru, 259 hectares in Tanah Laut (Tala), 182 hectares in Banjar, 116 hectares in Hulu Sungai Selatan , 95 hectares in Tapin, and 34.5 hectares in Tanah Bumbu (Tanbu); 4.25 hectares in Kota Banjarmasin, 4.25 hectares in Hulu Sungai Tengah, 4.3 hectares in Barito Kuala (Batola), 5 hectares in Kotabaru , 10 hectares in Balangan, 11.5 hectares in Hulu Sungai Utara (HSU) and 13.5 hectares in Tabalong.

Earlier this month in West Kalimantan smokes have forced the City Administration of Pontianak, the provincial city, to close schools for several days.

Smokes from forest fires are feared to cause health hazard, the city Mayor Sutarmidji said here on Monday, adding the smokes were getting thicker causing breathing difficulty.

A school teacher Yudi in the city said the smokes caused loss of concentration of the students.

"The impact is worse in the past week . Everybody has to wear masker when they are out on the street," Yudi said.

Forest fires have been a problem almost every year in Kalimantan during dry season.

In South Sumatra, especially around the provincial city of Palembang, the authorities have to be more on guard against forest fires otherwise haze of smokes could disrupt the Asian Games now underway in the city until Sept. 2.

Police and military personnel were on guard in areas in the villages and other places around the city to make sure that the city is safe from the inconvenience caused by smokes.

Farmers are strictly prohibited from using fires to clear farmlands as fires easily spread to hit peat lands and forests during the dry season.

Reporting by Sukarli
Editing by Albert Saragih

Reporter: Sukarli
Editor: Bustanuddin
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