PETALING JAYA - Malaysians will have to bear with the hazy situation for at least another two to three weeks before the inter-monsoon period kicks in.
The Meteorological Department said the high number of hotspots in Sumatra, along with the current wind pattern, had brought in the haze.
"During the current southwest monsoon, the wind direction is from Indonesia towards Malaysia. With the forest fires in Indonesia, we end up experiencing the haze.
"On Monday evening, we observed that there were still over 200 hotspots in Sumatra and this number must decrease over the next few weeks for haze not to reach unsafe levels," said National Weather Centre senior meteorologist Dr Hisham Mohd Anip.
As at yesterday evening, the Air Pollutant Index for most areas in the country was within the moderate levels of 51 to 100, which is still considered safe for generally healthy people.
However, Dr Hisham advised those prone to breathing problems or other health issues to take extra precautions.
"For the time being, try to reduce outdoor activity or anything that requires spending a long time inhaling the air outside because the air quality is not healthy right now," he said.
Although the haze is expected to last for the next few weeks, the department predicts a brief respite tomorrow and Friday with a minor shift anticipated in the wind pattern.
"At this time, we are expecting the winds to shift so it blows from Malaysia to Indonesia instead.
"After the two days, the return of the haze will depend on the situation in Indonesia. If it has not improved, then expect the haze to return," said Dr Hisham.
He further observed that while there would be rain in some places, these would be isolated and would not help improve the situation.
"Very little rain is forecast for the next few weeks until the inter-monsoon, which is expected to begin in the second or third week of September.
"Only after that, we may experience more rainfall and improved weather conditions," he said.
In Putrajaya, Bernama quoted Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar as saying the haze is also expected to occur in western and northern Sarawak, .