Foreign fire-fighting teams arrive to help douse Indonesian fires

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Foreign teams have began arriving in Indonesia to help fight forest fires that have sent choking smog across parts of South-East Asia, an official said Saturday.

A Singaporean crew arrived with a Chinook helicopter and two Hercules C-130 transport planes while Malaysia sent a Bombardier aircraft with 21 personnel, said Sutopo Nugroho, spokesman for the National Disaster Management Agency.

“We’re hoping that in two weeks we’ll be able to put out all the fires,” Sutopo said.

The government has said that Australia, China, Russia and South Korea would also send fire-fighting teams.

Haze from forest fires is an annual hazard that also frequently affects neighbouring Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand.

The pollution has led this year to school closures, flight disruptions and air pollution in areas affected.

The practice of open burning to clear land for agriculture is illegal but common in Indonesia.

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