Fires raged on peatlands on the outskirts of Palangkaraya, Indonesia, on Nov 1. Photo: Getty Images
By Ben Otto
The Wall Street Journal
Nov. 3, 2015 7:44 a.m. ET
JAKARTA, Indonesia—Producers of palm oil, rubber and paper are bracing for a financial hit from months of fires and choking haze smothering Indonesia.
The biggest outbreak of fires since 1997 has devastated 3 million hectares of land and polluted the air, damaging agricultural regions that supply companies from palm-oil producer Cargill Inc. to paper giant Asia Pulp & Paper Co.
The fires, an annual hazard, are often set illegally by farmers on Sumatra and Borneo islands to clear land. The haze—extending across Malaysia and Singapore and as far as the Philippines and Vietnam—can lower crop yields and complicate logistics for companies, besides damaging the health of workers and residents.