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‘Scary phenomenon’ causes sky to turn red following forest fires in Indonesia

The ‘terrifying’ effect was accompanied by severely reduced air quality in the province of Jambi.

The red scene in Jambi, Indonesia (@kikikhairi/Twitter)
The red scene in Jambi, Indonesia (@kikikhairi/Twitter)

By Edd Dracott, PA

Locals have been left “terrified” after forest fires caused the sky to turn red in Indonesia.

The province of Jambi was given the appearance of Mars over the weekend due to the effect of a phenomenon known as Rayleigh scattering on the haze created by the fires, which was accompanied by severely reduced air quality.

Rayleigh scattering refers to when light is dispersed by particles in the air, filtering certain wavelengths and in this case causing the air to appear red – it is the same effect which causes the sky to appear blue.

Kiki Khairi’s mother lives in Jambi and told her daughter she was “terrified” by the reddened atmosphere.

“She said it’s hard to breathe,” the 25-year-old told the PA news agency. “The burning forest happens every year, but this is the first time the sky turned red and the air quality is too dangerous for people.

“It was terrifying to witness such a scary phenomenon.”

Ms Khairi, who lives in Jakarta, said pregnant women and children had not been allowed outside in Jambi for a week due to the haze and all flights to the province have been cancelled.

She added that many people got respiratory tract infections and air filtering masks were required when venturing outdoors.

PA

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