Indonesia — The East Kotawaringin district administration has set up a command post to deal with forest and plantation fires.
“The function of the command post is to prevent and handle forest and plantation fires in East Kotawaringin,” Sanggol Lumban Gaol, an official of the East Kotawaringin district administration, said here on Thursday.
The command post involves various officers in the district, such as the environmental affairs office, the forestry office, the local fire brigade, the plantation and agriculture office, and police.
Similar command posts will later be set up at all sub districts and villages in East Kotawaringin District.
Head of the East Kotawaringin Fire Brigade Rusli said his office has put out 22 large-scale forest and plantation fires and 48 others at small scale over the past three weeks.
He explained that the East Kotawaringin Fire Brigade has managed to extinguish just 40 percent of the forest and plantation fires occurring in the district, due to lack of equipment and personnel.
His office has only five fire trucks, and one of them was out of order.
Meanwhile, orangutans in East Kotawaringin District are on the brink of extinction, according to Head of the East Kotawaringin Natural Resource Conservation Agency (BKSDA) Ian Septiawan.
“The orangutans are in grave danger of extinction due to degradation of their habitats in East Kotawaringin. The habitats have decreased from year to year because of the forest conversion into oil palm plantations,” Ian Septiawan said here Wednesday (July 6).
Forest and plantation fires, which occur almost every year, have also threatened the existence of orangutans in the district.
They have difficulty in finding food because their habitats are under pressure.
Some orangutans have been caught and killed by local people because they had entered nearby villages, and some others were burned in the forest fires, Ian said.