The Jakarta Post
The Fire Free Alliance (FFA), a group consisting of forestry and agriculture companies and civil society groups, said on Wednesday that it has successfully reduced fire incidents by 50 to 90 percent in the 2015-2016 period.
Established in February last year, FFA has focused on fire prevention through community engagement. The members of the group include APRIL, Asian Agri and Musim Mas.
Wilmar, a group member, said it has educated communities in 61 villages in South Sumatra and Central Kalimantan and trained 15 fire fighters in each village and equipped them with a fire truck.
“We are definitely better prepared now,” said Wilmar plantations head Gurcharan Singh during an event to review the program.
“The government encourages the private sector to participate in preventing forest fires,” said Prabianto Mukti Wibowo, an official from the Coordinating Economic Ministry.
Prabianto also mentioned that land and forest fires have become annual man-made disasters for the last 18 years and occurred in the same locations, which are in seven provinces covering 731 villages.
The fire season of 2015 saw one of the nation’s worst ever haze crisis. After a concerted effort by the central government and private sector, land and forest fires significantly decreased last year, with the total land area burned reduced to 438,360 ha. The number of hot spots also decreased by up to 82.1 percent according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) satellites. (hol/wit)