According to the 2005 data from the Indonesia National Council on Climate Change: Indonesia’s peatland annual CO2 emission due to peat fires is 55% or 470 MT. Peat fires release a greater amount of greenhouse gas (GHG) than fires in non-peat areas and are much harder to extinguish.
As well as preventing smoke haze that is hazardous to health, it is in APRIL Group’s commercial interest to prevent and suppress fire near and inside its concession areas as fire destroys plantation trees – APRIL Group’s main raw material for its pulp and paper production. Rather than using fire, we prepare land for planting with modern machinery.
FIRE PREVENTION: GOOD FIRE MANAGEMENT STARTS WITH THE PREVENTION OF FIRES
We recognize that investment in fire prevention through education and capability building is more effective than having a world-class suppression capability. Given that the vast majority of fires are the result of burning by neighboring communities, engagement at the village level is a critical part of minimizing the risk posed by fires. As a result, we cooperate with government authorities on a range of community and education-based prevention initiatives to ensure that fires are not started within our concessions and take all necessary precautions to ensure fires are prevented.
APRIL Group firmly believes in being part of the solution to forest fires and has invested significantly into fire prevention and fire suppression at an operational and community level, including:
CASE STUDY: Village Incentive Program
In 2014, APRIL Group introduced a pilot project to incentivize villagers in Sering*, Pulau Muda*, Teluk Meranti* and Teluk Binjai* to adopt no-burn policies and prevent land or forest fires within their areas.
The program aims to foster collaboration with nearby communities as well as to draw lessons for a more comprehensive community-based fire prevention program. This is because achieving a lasting solution to the annual fire and haze problem in Indonesia requires effective collaboration between communities, government as well as the private sector.
Under the program, APRIL Group acknowledges the efforts of villages that successfully prevent land and forest fire for three consecutive months. Assistance packages are awarded to villages that prevent fire successfully and are able to extinguish fire in less than 24 hours on a burned area of less than one hectare.
RIGOROUS FIRE DETECTION AND EARLY WARNING SYSTEM
During fire seasons we operate regular land, air and water patrols with fire crews on standby.
Every day, fire teams monitor daily weather at many different locations across the province and determine a Fire Danger rating which is based on days since rain, amount of rainfall, humidity and fuel (vegetation) moisture.
Fire teams patrol APRIL Group concession areas, monitoring the landscape for fires as well as other unauthorized activities, like illegal logging. These fire teams are physically fit and are prepared to respond immediately to any fire within APRIL Group concession areas.
RAPID RESPONSE AND AGGRESSIVE SUPPRESSION
Fires can be difficult to control, particularly on peatland. We have developed a world-class suppression capability that includes helicopters equipped with expert fire crews, water bombing, fire trucks, airboats as well as teams on the ground that can be rapidly deployed to contain and extinguish fires when detected.
APRIL Group collaborates with government agencies in fighting fires near our concessions. In July 2014, APRIL Group formalized the cooperation in a Memorandum of Understanding to help government combat forest fires. In support of the Riau Province Disaster Mitigation Agency, APRIL Group provides equipment such as the use of a company helicopters and water pumps, as well as firefighting training for 724 volunteers across 39 Riau villages.
FIRE SUPPRESSION CAPABILITIES:
- 989* Rapid Response Team of 380 core members, 609 back-up members
- More than US$6 million invested in fire suppression equipments
- Helicopters and 2 airboats on standby for waterbombing
- Annual operating cost of core fire team of more than US$ 2 million
- Trained 28* community-based fire prevention and control groups (Masyarakat Peduli Api) of 724* members in 5* regencies across Riau.