An Indonesian soldier participated in extinguishing forest fires in Ogan Ilir, South Sumatra province, on September 30. (Source: VNA)

Indonesian President Joko Widodo said on September 30 that his country needs three years to completely put an end to forest fires which have been occurring more frequently in recent years.

The Southeast Asian country had to mobilise 12,000 individuals including 3,700 soldiers and 8,000 police to handle the fires, which have been ravaging its major islands over recent weeks.

Local governments have implemented a number of measures, including spraying water from helicopters and using artificial rain, in order to control fires and the subsequent haze pollution as soon as possible.

Singapore, which has been severely impacted by smoke drifting from fires on Indonesian islands, offered help but it has thus far not been accepted by Indonesia. Malaysian Minister of Defence Hishammuddin Hussein expressed his nation’s willingness to help Indonesia cope with the situation as well.

After a field trip to Central Kalimantan to survey the damage caused by fires, President Joko Widodo said Indonesia has been building systems to keep water in forests and canals.

Speaking at a meeting of ASEAN ministers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Chief of Indonesian National Police Badrodin Haiti said the police have investigated 210 fires in Sumatra and Kalimantan and are ready to bring 40 cases to court.

Singapore has begun preparing legal documents to sue five Indonesian companies for their role in the forest fires.

In related news, the Indonesian Agency for Meteorology , Climatology and Geophysics forecast that in the next two days, the weather in Sumatra will be cloudy but rain is still a distant outlook.

The particle content in the air in the region was 340ug/m3, an unhealthy level.-VNA