Indonesia: APP Sinar Mas combats forest fires to support Asian Games 201

The Jakarta Post 20 Jul 18;

To help ensure that the upcoming Asian Games 2018 proceed without concerns about participants or spectators suffering from the effects of nearby forest fires, Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) is putting up intensive efforts to help fight forest and land fires in Pedamaran Timur in Ogan Komering Ilir regency, South Sumatra.

This effort is part of APP Sinar Mas's desire to support President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's desire to see "no fire and haze" in the days leading up to and throughout the running of the Asian Games 2018, the timing of which coincides with this year's dry season.

"APP Sinar Mas is ready to lend its best support to help the Asian Games 2018 become a successful event free from fires and haze. Our commitment does not end at just protecting the concession areas of our partners from forest fires and land fires. We have also prepared measures to deal with such disasters outside of our concessions in South Sumatra," said Sujica Lusaka, APP Sinar Mas' general manager of fire management.

APP Sinar Mas has deployed Super Puma helicopters, which can carry up to 4,000 liters of water, for aerial firefighting operations in Ogan Komering Ilir regency, South Sumatra.
APP Sinar Mas has deployed Super Puma helicopters, which can carry up to 4,000 liters of water, for aerial firefighting operations in Ogan Komering Ilir regency, South Sumatra. (./Courtesy of APP Sinar Mas)

"Today, we have provided aid in the form of Super Puma helicopters with 4,000 liters of water-carrying capacity for water-bombing operations to extinguish fires in Pedamaran Timur in Ogan Komering Ilir, some 30 to 40 kilometers away from APP Sinar Mas' concession zone. This is being done to help prevent fires from spreading and harming local residents and causing problems for the Asian Games 2018 preparations," Sujica said on Wednesday.

APP Sinar Mas has allocated Rp 50 billion in additional funds outside of its annual budget to fight fires and haze in the period leading up to and encompassing the Asian Games. In total, APP Sinar Mas has invested more than Rp 170 billion in South Sumatra this year.

The company's investment for preventing fires and haze in South Sumatra has been allocated toward the following goals:

* Educating local communities around the concession zone to give them a better sense of understanding on the subject of forest and land fires.

* Building 13 new fire lookout towers 32 meters in height, each with a lookout radius of 10 kilometers. The company has a total of 16 of these fire lookout towers.

* Building 25 new lookout posts with mini-towers 12 meters in height. The company has a total of 52 of these posts.

* Preparing firefighting teams that can be deployed around the clock and adding as many as 460 new members, in addition to the current 2,700 APP Sinar Mas personnel in charge of fire extinguishing operations.

* Four helicopters

* 41 fire-extinguishing special forces

* Various fire-extinguishing equipment, such as airboats and tank trucks.

APP Sinar Mas is addressing the issue of forest and land fires with two main strategies: prevention and mitigation. These two strategies are implemented by increasing the accuracy of local mapping efforts for the three places considered vulnerable to fires in South Sumatra: Ogan Komering Ilir, Banyuasin and Musi Banyuasin. Fire detection operations have been doubled to increase the effectiveness of risk mitigation efforts.

According to APP Sinar Mas director Suhendra Wiriadinata, the company will continue to play an active role in helping prevent and mitigate forest and land fires, both inside and outside of its concession zone.

"As a company committed to providing the best contribution for the nation, we are helping to deal with and control forest and land fires for the coming Asian Games 2018. We will continue to channel aid to ensure that the fire problem is handled well," Suhendra said.

The company is also working together with authorities and other key stakeholders to prevent forest and land fires in its areas of operations, as part of APP Sinar Mas' commitment to protecting forests in its Forest Conservation Policy.