APRIL introduces Fire Free Village Program – Riau’s first collaborative fire prevention initiative
In effort to stop forest fire and haze being an annual problem during the dry season in Indonesia, APRIL initiates a multi-stakeholder fire prevention program, launched by Riau province interim governor in Pangkalan Kerinci on 28 July 2015.
Designed by APRIL’s fire prevention and suppression team, the program consists of five core elements executed in collaboration with the provincial government, law enforcement authorities, communities and non-governmental organizations.
“This private-initiated program help our cause to make Riau free of forest fire and haze,” said Arsyadjuliandi Rachman, Riau’s interim governor. He added that collaboration is crucial in fire prevention, as the government does not have the resources the tackle the problem alone.
Also present at the program launch event was Gen. TNI (ret.) Moeldoko who commends the fire prevention initiative and called it a breakthrough.
APRIL invested heavily in fire suppression equipments such as helicopters, boats, fire trucks, trained fire fighter team and implements zero burn policy.
Preventing fire with Fire Free Village Program includes a five-pronged approach:
- Community incentives to not clear land with fire
- Community fire crew leaders
- Sustainable agricultural alternatives
- Air quality monitoring
- Community awareness campaign
Partnering with APRIL to roll the program in Riau are two local NGOs: Rumah Pohon and Blue Green. Building on the pilot fire prevention program in 2014, there are now nine villages from fire-prone areas participating and commits to zero burning.
Commenting on the program, Abu Sama, Kuala Panduk village chief said the fire prevention initiative offers economic and environmental benefits. “Farmers can develop land without using fire and get information about better ways of farming”.
Meanwhile, Dede Kunaif from Rumah Pohon NGO encourages higher awareness of the danger of fire and haze as well as the adverse impacts on health and livelihoods.
“By collaborating with like-minded stakeholders, we hope to see a win-win and lasting solution on the ground,” said Dede Kunaif of Rumah Pohon NGO.
“The program is about collaboration on forest fire prevention. Along with government, civil society groups and the community we will work together to address the root-cause of land and forest fire,” said Rudi Fajar, director of Riau Andalan Pulp and Paper, the operations unit of APRIL Group.