Indonesia’s airport, schools forced to close due to forest fires hinh anh 1Firemen try to extinguish a fire in Kampar regency of Indonesia's Riau province, on September 13 (Photo: AFP/VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – An airport on Sumatra island and schools in some provinces of Indonesia were forced to close on September 13 by smoke from forest fires in the country.

Fluctuating visibility that at times was just 300m forced airlines to postpone fights to the main airport in Pekanbaru, the capital of Riau province on Sumatra island. This also led to delays at an airport in Dumai, another city in Riau.

Worsening haze forced many schools in Riau and Jambi provinces to shut down. Health offices in both provinces said more than 300,000 people have suffered respiratory illnesses since the haze began. More people have also been seeking medical help in recent weeks.

In Pekanbaru, the situation was so serious that about 1,000 people prayed for rain with the hope that rain would help stamp out ranging forest fires and haze

The weather agency of Indonesia said parts of Southeast Asia, including Indonesia, have experienced dry weather in recent months. Burning is usually used by Indonesian people to clear land for oil palm and other crops.

Indonesian authorities have deployed over 9,000 people to fight the fires across the country, with more than half of the area in the provinces of Riau, Jambi, South Sumatra, West Kalimantan, Central Kalimantan and South Kalimantan./.