WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- Forest fires turned the sky of Jambi, Indonesia a shade of blood-red.
- Not only does it look terrifying, but the haze has also made the air quality “dangerous for people”.
- The deep red shade is caused by a phenomenon called Rayleigh scattering, the same thing that makes our skies look blue.
Videos of Jambi province in Indonesia circulating on Twitter this weekend look like something out of a post-apocalyptic movie. The skies turned blood red as a result of ongoing forest fires. Though forest fires occur yearly in Indonesia, mostly during the dry season from April to October, it’s the first time the sky turned a terrifying color.
A resident of Jakarta, Indonesia, received a video from Jambi, where her mother lives. Kiki Khairi told the UK’s PA Media that her mother told her “it’s hard to breathe” and “the air quality is too dangerous for people.”
Another Twitter user, Zuni Shofi Yatun Nisa, also shared footage of the red haze, tweeting “This is not Mars. This is Jambi.”
A professor at the Singapore University of Social Sciences, Koh Tieh Yong, told the BBC that the redness was caused by the phenomenon called Rayleigh scattering, where certain wavelengths of light are filtered out when light particles disperse in the air. It’s the same thing that makes our skies normally look blue. This time, however, particles released by the forest fires turned everything a dark, scary red.
Yong said that looking directly into the sun would make the redness look more extreme. Since many of the videos were taken around noontime, the sun being in the center of the sky would have amplified the red shade.
The World Resources Institute says that the terrifying haze caused by the fires have caused damage across the country, canceling numerous flights and destroying the homes of endangered animals like orangutans.