Indonesia: Transboundary Haze Pollution Control and Monitoring System (IFFN No. 20)

Wide Area Surveillance System (WAS) Phase I:
Transboundary Haze Pollution Control and Monitoring System (THPCM)

(IFFN No. 20 – March 1999, p. 15-19)


The Government of Indonesia (GOI) in cooperation with the United States Trade Development Agency has been conducting a Feasibility Study for a Wide Area Surveillance System (WAS) for Indonesia since July 1997. Phase I of WAS, the Transboundary Haze Pollution Control and Monitoring System (THPCM), addresses the critical and devastating forest fire problems of Indonesia and proposes a system-based solution to respond to forest fire events.

WAS is a state-of-the-art monitoring system to collect real-time environmental, natural resources, and natural hazards data. As currently proposed, WAS is a system that will collect and process environmental data and use it to respond to a directly or indirectly threatening situation from a human, environmental or natural resources point-of-view. The objective of WAS is to provide real-time monitoring of natural hazards, environmental conditions, and environment-affecting activities in Indonesia and use this information to respond and act upon the situation. Real-time monitoring means providing data as events or changes occur, generally in a matter of minutes or hours, to permit rapid identification of and response to problems. Early assessment results of the feasibility of WAS for Indonesia identified that implementation of the proposed solution (“system”) should be split in phases. The WAS Phase I (THPCM), which addresses land and forest fires, is the focus of this conference.

Objectives of THPCM

The objective of the THPCM is to improve the Government’s capabilities to predict, prevent, and respond to land and forest fires, and thereby reduce the severity and frequency of hazardous smoke and haze conditions in Indonesia and neighbouring countries.


The THPCM will consist of four major functions:

  • Pre-fire planning
  • Monitoring
  • Communication and information exchange
  • Fire suppression

Figure 1: THPCM System Functions

Pre-Fire Planning

The pre-fire planning component will enable the GOI to allocate and direct fire suppression resources to the most likely areas of need and to establish procedures to ensure that all related aspects of fire and haze suppression are well integrated and coordinated. Monitoring fire and haze monitoring will use a variety of data analysis technologies to predict and monitor fire hazards on an on-going and sustained basis. When fires do occur the information collected by the various monitoring systems will provide for early detection and rapid response. The major monitoring functions are:

  •  Fire and haze danger forecasting
  • Fire detection
  • Haze detection
  • Weather and Climate forecasting
  • Land use/land cover assessment
  • Air quality
  • Suppression management

Communications and Information Exchange

Communications and information exchange are critical to the effective operation of any fire management system. In Indonesia, fire management is the shared responsibility of several institutions, each of which is responsible for a specific analysis and/or response component. The THPCM will provide both a communications infrastructure (e.g., intranet, SATCOM, radio, etc.), as well as a system for cataloguing and exchanging data so that it can be easily and quickly accessed and disseminated.Information from environmental sensors will be communicated to and between data analysis centers in digital format. This will allow for rapid decision making and information exchange with field personnel.

Fire Suppression

Coordinated fire suppression operations will be conducted using a combination of air and ground suppression techniques. The effectiveness of fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft used in combination with ground crews has been proven to be successful in suppressing fires in many countries throughout the world. Existing fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft will be modified with retardant/water delivery systems and supported by both mobile and fixed retardant mixing facilities.Ground suppression will be carried out at the local level by trained crews equipped with basic fire fighting equipment, including portable retardant pumps, shovels, axes, paraugs. A key component of the THPCM is to provide basic fire fighter training at the Satlak Hutla level and fire management training to at the TKI, II, and III level.

Operational Concept

While many institutions in Indonesia currently perform functions related to fire and haze monitoring and suppression, experience in the 1997 fire season demonstrated that these were ineffective. The THPCM will provide a more systematic and operational approach to integrate the capabilities of GOI institutions.The overall architecture for the THPCM project is illustrated in Figure 2. The architecture is modeled after fire monitoring and suppression systems that have been successfully implemented in other parts of the world, including the United States and Canada.The heart of the system will be the Fire and Haze Control Center located at BAPEDAL in Jakarta. BAPEDAL will collect data from other agencies and/or institutions on a regular basis, and integrate and analyze it to conduct:

  • Pre-fire Planning
  • Fire detection
  • Fire danger forecasting
  • Fire behavior modeling
  • Smoke distribution and air quality monitoring
  • Fire suppression planning
  • Suppression resource allocation and trading

Fire suppression activities will be coordinated and managed at local fire command posts that will be established as needed at airports in the fire prone provinces of Kalimantan, Riau, Jambi, Lampung and South Sumatra (Fig.3). The Local Fire Command Posts will be operated through a close coordination between BADEDALDA TKI and Ministry of Forestry TKI, and will be responsible for performing the following functions:

  • Local tactical fire suppression operations management
  • Air and ground suppression operations management
  • Local suppression resource tracking
  • Communications with air and ground suppression units and support personnel

 Fig. 2: THPCM System Architecture


The THPCM makes use of existing, already proven technologies and management systems. The approach outlined will require coordination between multiple Government agencies and administration levels and a variety of fire suppression methodologies. All of these components have been shown to be technically sound, organizationally visible and effective elsewhere in the world. The project will strengthen the capabilities of GOI institutions, by enhancing data collection, management, and analysis as well as by providing proper training for local, provincial and national agency staff. The project will supply equipment and provide training of fire fighting personnel to improve the capabilities for suppressing fires in Indonesia. The THPCM will provide coordination of fire suppression operations between national level institutions, local governments and field personnel.

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Fig.3. Local Fire Command Post Operational Concept


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Stephane Asselin
Sr. Project Engineer and Iwan Gunawan
URS Greiner Woodward-Clyde
500 12th Street
USA – Oakland, California 94607
Indonesian Ministry for
Research and Technology BPPT
Jl. M.H. Thamrin No.8
Jakarta 10340

IFFN No. 20
Country Notes

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