Update on Hotspots and Forest Fires in Sumatra
APRIL continues regular aerial surveillance and field inspection to monitor fire risks in Sumatra. As of 2 September, there were no fires on land under APRIL’s operational control. APRIL continues to be vigilant and is actively monitoring and verifying hotspots.
A recent report by World Resources Institute (WRI) highlighted an increase in the number of hotspots to 734 in Sumatra over a six day period from 22 to 27 August. The report indicated that 41 of those hot spots were located on areas under APRIL’s direct operational control.
Our aerial surveillance and field inspection via land patrols during that period confirmed that only three of the reported hotspots in areas under APRIL’s operational control were actual fires. These fires had started on community land and subsequently spread into APRIL’s operational areas.
Since that time, all three of those fires have been extinguished by our firefighting teams. As of 2 September, there were no fires on land under APRIL’s operational control. APRIL continues to be vigilant and is actively monitoring and verifying hotspots. During this hot and dry season, fire can spread into our operational areas from outside areas. APRIL’s fire fighters and fire fighting equipment, including helicopters with water-bombing capability, are immediately deployed to extinguish any fires as quickly as possible. Each fire outbreak outside APRIL’s operational areas is reported to the police for follow-up investigations.
Fire outbreaks can lead to damage and loss of plantation trees. As fibre from trees is the key raw material for the pulp and paper business, APRIL practices a strict ‘no-burn’ policy in our operational areas.