Tackling Land and Forest Fire
Fires in Indonesia that cause haze across South East Asia are an ongoing problem. APRIL is working hard to be part of the solution.
Fires are a risk to APRIL’s business. Our forestry concessions, with their mix of plantation and conservation forests, are our key assets. Fires that damage our forests reduce the value and productivity of these assets. Fire burns all biomass which takes away the nutritional value for plantation growth apart from destroying the raw materials. That’s why, since we began in the forestry business, we have had a strict no-burn policy in our concessions.
However, other people illegally use fire as a cheap way to clear land. As a recent CIFOR report highlighted, sometimes these fires spread into forestry concessions. Sometimes these people occupy land inside forestry concessions and start fires. Most of the fires, all most all of them spread from outside of APRIL concessions to inside
We have responded by boosting the already considerable manpower, equipment, tools, technology and know-how dedicated to quickly identifying and extinguishing fires. We have continuous monitoring of hotspot information from various satellite sources and immediate field verification resources and actions. We put our fire protection and management resources to work in our concessions and in collaboration with the wider community, supporting the efforts of others to reduce fire incidence and extinguish fires quickly.
Our concessions and surrounding areas are under constant surveillance by satellite, aerial and land-based methods to find fires quickly if they start. We have helicopters with fire fighting crew, water booming, fire trucks, air boats and teams on the ground that are deployed to contain and extinguish fires. We have regular land, air and water patrols with adequate on the spot response fire fighting response crew. We work closely with the authorities to report and investigate the source of any fires.
And we work in local communities and with Government agencies to educate the community about alternative practices – including incentivizing local communities to adopt no-burn practices and to help them put fires out when they occur.
We also assist the local authorities for fire and incidence monitoring by providing helicopters and airboats to inaccessible areas
We support the need for strong enforcement of laws banning fires and harsh penalties for those who ignore those laws. We support the National Disaster Management Agency’s efforts to prevent and tackle fires. And we support collaborative international efforts to educate people about the real causes of fire in Indonesia and to find effective and innovative measures to combat fire.
Reducing the risk of forest fires in Indonesia is ultimately good for the country, good for the community and good for our company.
CIFOR’s research on forest fire in Indonesia: