Fire Free Alliance Members Reaffirm Commitment to Community Fire Prevention Programs and Best Practice Sharing
Members of the Fire Free Alliance (FFA) met recently to discuss their commitments and preparations in anticipation of the 2020 dry season in Indonesia. Attendees at the meeting, held on June 17, also discussed climate forecasts for the upcoming dry season, as well as updates on initiatives being undertaken by individual FFA members.
Set up in 2016, the FFA is a voluntary multi-stakeholder group including forestry and agriculture companies and civil society organisations. It was established to help address the fire and haze issue in Indonesia by encouraging continuing collaboration among the private sector, local communities, and the Government. Over time the focus of the FFA has shifted to solutions that empower the communities so they can own the change process leading to long term behavioral change. Current members include Wilmar, Musim Mas, Asian Agri, IOI, Sime Darby, PM Haze, IDH and APRIL.
Peter Moore, Forest Officer and Fire Management Specialist with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), began the meeting with an assessment of the impact the COVID-19 pandemic will have on fire management activities, including taking additional measures such as disinfecting equipment, optimizing the use of remote technologies and providing adequate handwashing and sanitizing facilities.
Other measures include the need to conduct daily COVID-19 assessments for fire fighters while on assignment as well as health screening at its conclusion. Moore also highlighted the need to prioritize local suppression resources and use aggressive fire suppression tactics to extinguish wildfires quickly, which minimises the need for large numbers of firefighting personnel for long periods of time.
Later in the meeting, FFA members outlined their efforts to support local communities, which include programs to provide legal assistance for villagers regarding land status, restoration and community development work in Riau, and ongoing social impact and fire risk assessments.
Meanwhile APRIL provided an update on its Fire Free Village Program, which now covers 753,604 hectares in partnerships with almost 80 communities – an area almost 10 times the size of Singapore. Working in partnership with local NGOs, local and national authorities, and the police, military and the Disaster Management Agency, the FFVP has significantly reduced the incidence of fire among participating communities since it was established in 2015. Members discussed their experiences and offered to share technical and operational guidance material with the broader FFA membership.
In concluding the meeting, which was also attended by a number of observers looking to increase their understanding of the role of the FFA in addressing the fire and haze issue in the region, Craig Tribolet, Chairman of the Fire Free Alliance, said: “Although there are indications that weather conditions in 2020 could be less extreme than those we saw last year and in 2015, we need to continue to coordinate activities and share best practices among FFA partners”.
“Our focus is on encouraging collaboration between all actors on these landscapes. Initiatives based on the FFVP model show that communities and companies can work together to develop successful fire prevention programs”.
Companies or organisations who would like further information, including updates on joining the FFA, should contact Mr. Craig Tribolet: firstname.lastname@example.org.