JAKARTA, Indonesia — Authorities have closed an airport on Indonesia’s Sumatra island due to poor visibility caused by smoke from raging fires burning through peatland.
Airport official Yogi Prasetyo says some flights managed to land before noon Friday at the main airport in Pekanbaru, the capital of Riau province. He says many airlines postponed flights due to the fluctuating visibility, which at times was just 300 meters (yards).
The air pollutant index hit the hazardous level in Riau and Jambi provinces, forcing most schools shut protect children from thick, noxious haze.
Health office data in the two provinces showed more than 300,000 people suffered respiratory illnesses since the haze began.
Nearly every year, Indonesian forest fires spread health-damaging haze across the region. Many of the fires are deliberately set to clear land.
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