While that kind of agricultural clearing technique has been used for centuries, the setting of such fires is now illegal in Indonesia, but plantation owners are commonly ignoring the law, environmentalists say.
"Widespread, illegal burning to clear rainforests and peatlands for palm oil and pulp and paper plantation expansion is unfortunately a well established yearly ritual in Sumatra," Laurel Sutherlin of the Rainforest Action Network, a San Francisco-based environmental organization, said in an email to the Huffington Post.
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