APRIL’s Fire Danger Period: A Key Part of Our Commitment to Fire Prevention and Management
Craig Tribolet, Deputy Director of Sustainability, APRIL Group, explains the company’s Fire Danger Period and how it contributes to the company’s approach to fire prevention and management.
Q: What is the Fire Danger Period?
The Fire Danger Period is a time of heightened risk for forest. It typically occurs between July and September in Riau, Indonesia, when the weather is excessively dry, making it easier to ignite fires and more difficult to control. Forest fires and land burning are a complex problem that has contributed to smoke and haze which also spreads to neighboring countries. As part of its broader fire prevention and management approach, APRIL introduced the Fire Danger Period in 2015. The Fire Danger Period is a voluntary declaration that applies to the concession areas that APRIL manages in Riau. It is designed to raise awareness of the increased risk of fire and to promote the use of alternative land management practices that do not involve burning. APRIL’s Fire Danger Period follows global best practices and complements and supports the approach taken by local authorities on fire prevention.
Q: How does the Fire Danger Period fit with APRIL’s overall fire management approach?
APRIL’s Fire Danger Period is a key part of our overall fire management approach, initiated in 2014 as part of a Strategic Fire Management Plan. The approach covers: fire risk mapping, community-level fire prevention initiatives, and formalizing the increased risk associated with the annual dry season. These three aspects have now become APRIL’s main practice.
- Fire risk mapping: APRIL develops an annual fire risk map that identifies areas that are most at risk of fire. This map is used to help APRIL prioritize its fire prevention and suppression efforts.
- Community-level fire prevention initiatives: APRIL works with local communities to develop fire prevention initiatives. These initiatives focus on raising awareness of the fire risk, promoting the use of alternative land management practices, and providing training on fire prevention and suppression.
- The Fire Danger Period: The Fire Danger Period is a voluntary declaration which typically occurs between July and September and applies to the concession areas that APRIL manages in Riau, Indonesia. It is designed to raise awareness of the increased risk of fire during the dry season and to promote the use of alternative land management practices.
The Fire Danger Period is complemented by APRIL’s other fire management initiatives, such as the Fire Free Village Program and the Fire Free Alliance. These initiatives help to identify and address the root causes of forest fires and to build a more resilient community. APRIL’s Fire Free Village Program as of June 2023, includes 42 villages, covering a total area of more than 900,000 ha. The program prevents the use of fires for land clearing in participating communities through the provision of mechanical land clearing support, other agricultural assistance and rewards for not burning. Fire incidents within the areas covered by the FFVP have been reduced by up to 90% since the program began.
The Fire Free Alliance is a global network of companies and organizations that are committed to reducing forest fires. APRIL is a founding member of the alliance, and it works with other members to share best practices and to advocate for policies that support fire prevention and suppression.
Q: How is the Fire Danger Period enforced or managed?
The purpose of the Fire Danger Period is to communicate as widely and effectively as possible that the current climatic conditions are not safe for any burning activities. The company strongly emphasizes the importance of adhering to the designated period among its employees, contractors, and communities. APRIL promotes awareness of the Fire Danger Period through a variety of channels, including employee training, community outreach, and public awareness campaigns. By raising awareness of the fire risk and promoting alternative land management practices, APRIL can help reduce the number of fires that occur during the dry season.
Q: What are some of the key benefits of the Fire Danger Period declaration?
The Fire Danger Period (FDP) has a number of key benefits, including:
- It initiates discussions about the appropriate timing for burning. The Fire Danger Period helps to raise awareness of the fire risk and the need to avoid burning during the dry season.
- It encourages the use of alternative methods to manage land at a community level. The Fire Danger Period can help to promote the use of alternative land management practices that do not involve burning.
- It helps raise awareness of the severe health effects of haze caused by fires. The Fire Danger Period can help to raise awareness of the health risks associated with haze.
- It encourages reporting of fires. The Fire Danger Period provides a toll-free number for people to report fires. This can help to ensure that fires are detected and extinguished quickly, which can help to prevent them from spreading.
- It allows for more effective planning and response to fires. The Fire Danger Period helps to ensure that fire prevention, detection and suppression efforts are focused on the areas that are most at risk.
Q: How do you measure the success of the Fire Danger Period?
APRIL targets zero hectare burned within our plantations each year. Over time, we have seen a significant reduction of fires within our concession areas and even outside the boundaries of the areas we manage. This indicates that the Fire Danger Period message, along with our other interventions are reaching communities outside our organization. We collaborate with regulatory authorities and share information with local police and forestry officials.
APRIL’s 2023 Fire Danger Period release is now available. You can find the release HERE