South Sumatra forest fire task force identifies five fire-prone areas

Reporter: Eliswan Azly
Editor: Bambang Purwanto


Palembang (ANTARA) – The South Sumatra Forest and Land Fire Task Force have identified five fire-prone areas, the districts of Ogan Ilir, Ogan Komering Ilir, Musi Banyuasin, Muara Enim, and Banyuasin.

In Palembang on Thursday, commander of the South Sumatra Forest and Land Fire Task Force, Col. Arh Sonny Septiono, said that the five regions were their priorities because they had extensive peatlands.

“Basically, we are looking at all regions, but of course we will prioritize certain areas, given the limitations of existing personnel and equipment,” said Colonel Arh Sonny Septiono.

According to him, currently, the alert status of forest and land fires have been activated, and personnel and command posts operating in 2018 have been revived as the initial step while awaiting a countermeasure program for 2019.

Until the beginning of May 2019, he admitted there had been several peatland fires even on a small scale.

According to the Governor of South Sumatra’s decree, he said forest and land fires occur from April 1 to October 31, 2019, and their operational patterns do not change much.

“In the meantime, we are coordinating meetings to equalize perceptions between agencies to see developments in the field, but we continued our programs last year,” he explained.

The South Sumatra Fire Task Force, he said, prioritizes the readiness of personnel and equipment in operations and maximizes prevention, namely by training companies or residents around the peatlands.

In addition, the task force has also received information on the current status of El Nino as the dry season enters, the effects of which are expected to increase in June, July and August.

“Based on BMKG’s information, El Nino’s vulnerability is indeed quite high; but in principle, we are ready,” said Colonel Arh Sonny Septiono.

Head of the South Sumatra Forestry Service Pandji Tjahjanto said his agency would create an integrated data center to support forest and land fire management operations.

“The data center will accommodate the latest information from various sources related to the operation of forest and land fires, not as comparable data on task forces, but as partners to share data, so there is no more confusion,” explained Pandji.

He added that the South Sumatra Forestry Service will launch the data center after Eid al-Fitr (Mulim post fasting festivities).