Sept. 17 (UPI) -- Indonesia is sealing off plantations that are responsible for some of the worst forest fires in recent years.
The move comes after Indonesian President Joko Widodo traveled to an area of the country heavily affected by forest fires. The state has arrested 185 people.
Suspects who started the fires are connected to palm oil plantations and other industries, the Jakarta Globe reported.
The government has warned company executives connected to the fires could be imprisoned under criminal law, according to Singaporean news service The Independent on Tuesday. Companies that have been sealed off include Singaporean firm Sampoerna Agri Resources.
"The government is working fast. This is an emergency. If it is not handled immediately and systematically with sound support, we will be overwhelmed," Chief Security Minister Wiranto said before leaving with Widodo for Pekanbaru, Riau on Monday.
The practice of "slashing and burning" trees in Indonesia's forests recurs annually and is carried out by local farmers and foreign corporations.
The fires typically lead to a widespread haze that travels across the country. This year pollution has been most severe, according to Taiwan's Central News Agency and other news services.
The state is distributing masks to the public and has issued mandatory days of rest, but reports of acute respiratory illnesses are on the rise.
Pollution from the fires has traveled to neighbors Singapore and Malaysia. On Sept. 7, Kuala Lumpur urged Jakarta to address the forest fires as soon as possible. Indonesia recently said companies responsible for the fires include a Malaysian firm.
It is estimated about 150,000 people are the most affected. Patients are being treated for respiratory problems at Riau University Hospital.
National Police spokesman Brig. Gen. Dedi Prasetyo said Monday people are responsible for "99 percent" of the fires, according to the Globe.