WATCH: Firefighters battle several peatland fires on Indonesia's Sumatra island

The fires started Tuesday afternoon near residential areas and along a highway in three villages.

The firefighters were hampered because water sources were far away and several reservoirs were dry. Forest and peat fires are an annual problem in Indonesia that strains relations with neighbouring countries.

Smoke from fires in the past blanketed parts of Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and southern Thailand with a noxious haze. But the head of the National Disaster Management Agency said the current fires would not affect neighbouring countries.