Source: A Review of Fire Projects in Indonesia (1982-1998) Rona Dennis. 1998.  prepared for CIFOR, ICRAF, UNESCO, EC JRS Ispra

Donor/Agency: European Union/European Commission
Executing Agency (Indonesia): BAPPENAS, Ministry of Forestry
Project Type: Multilateral
Budget Grant: US$ 4.879.759 (ECU 4.050.200,exchange rate on 13/8/96)
Country Budget: US$ 628.193 (ECU 521.400)
Total Budget: US$ 5.507.952
Consultants: Natural Resources Institute (NRI), BCEOM
 Regions/Provinces: FFPCP (South Sumatra), FIMP (Jambi, Lampung, South Sumatra and Bengkulu)
Project Office: FFPCP, Kanwil Kehutanan, Palembang
Jean-Jacques Maurer, Head of Fire Station
IFSSP, Manccala Wanabakti Building, Block 7,
Floor 6, Jalan Gatot Subroto, Jakarta 12720.
David Wall, Procramme Co-Director
FIMP, Manggala Wanabakti Building, Block 4
Floor 5, Jalan Gatot Subroto, Jakarta 10270
 Time-frame: April 1995-April 1998 (Phase 2 is under discussion)


Note: Closely associated is the Indonesia Forest Sector Support Pro-railime (IFSSP), including the Forest Inventory and Mapping Project (FIMP)


FFPCP Description

The original intention of the project was to help upgrade the Indonesian fire fighting capacity. However, it became clear during appraisal that further work had to be done on the causes of the fires and the local system for conflict resolution, before installing new capacity.

The project is based in Palembang and aims to produce integrated systems for combating fires, involving government, community, and commercial interests in the pilot province of South Sumatra. The principal output will be a clearer understanding of the causes and effects of forest fires and the development of practical methods of prevention and control.


  • to obtain an understanding of the occurrence of fire and the present means of control in the province of South Sumatra;
  • to develop an operational NOAA fire monitoring and early warning system in the BIPHUT Office, Palembang (South Sumatra);
  • to establish forest fire prevention and control systems in three different pilot areas representing three important forest types: lowland forest (plantations), peat swamp forest, and upland forest.

Target Groups:

Ministry of Forestry, Directorate General Forest Protection and Nature Conservation (PHPA), Kanwil and Dinas Kehutanan in South Sumatra, central and field level; rural population; forest concessionaires and commercial forest tree plantations; and Kanwil and Dinas Kehutanan in Bengkulu, Jambi, Lampung.

Rural Development Component

The main activities and their results, as described by the rural development expert in the final report (FFPCP 1998), were as follows:

1. Study the direct and indirect causes offorestfires in South Sumatra – The results of this activity are summarised below:

Main Causes of Fire 2. Short Term Remedy 3. Long Term Remedy Land Clearing (estates, HPH, HTI) Distribute brochures and give advice on alternative land clearing techniques, along with warning letters from the goverment on punitive action Accidents (hunting, children, industrial) Public awareness campaigns Landang (small farmers) Raise the economic standard in rural areas Malice Create job opportunities and raise economic standard in rural areas

2. Analyse data on fire incidence in South Sumatra;

3. Select pilot areas – The pilot study areas were selected based on high incidence of fires and categorisation as one of the three economically important forest types (upland, lowland, or peat swamp forest). The total combined area of the pilot areas is 18 000 sq kni, or 17.5% of the total area of South Sumatra (103 000 sq km);

4. Study possibility of introducing sylvo-pastural systems – The results of the study suggested that an important solution to the reduction of fire risk in commercial plantations could be the establishment of agroforestry systems in their vicinity;

5. Study of fire reducing techniques for land preparation – The study recommended the stimulation of capital intensive alternative methods to commercial forestry companies (although no indication of these methods was given in the report); and the development of rural areas in the vicinity of forestry estates with the aim ofachieving sustenance through improved economic farming systems and consequent reduction in slash-and-burn practices;

6. Identification of target groups for a public awareness campaign, evaluation of existing materials and opportunities for public awareness programmes, and production of mass media basedprogramme of action; and

7. Production of strategy and extension messages for the pilot areas.

Social Forestry Component

The main activities and results of this component, as described by the Social Forestry Expert in the final report (FFPCP 1998), were as follows:

1. Occurrence of fire and present means of control in South Sumatra evaluated through thefollowing activities:

  • investigate existence and potential value of fire burning pemiit system;
  • survey the influence of land ownership on fire occurrence;
  • investigate influence of agricultural activities on fire occurrence; and
  • investigate direct and indirect causes of forest and non-forest fires in South Sumatra.

2. Operational forest fire prevention and control in three main forest types through the following activities:

  • investigate potential for small holder mushroom cultivation;
  • train extension agents and selected farmers in recommended mushroom cultivation; and
  • demonstrate improved techniques for mushroom production in selected villages and follow-up work.

3. Use of timber and non-timber forest products promoted through the following activities:

  • identify and recommend timber and non-timber forest product species of value to forest margin communities with potential commercial value;
  • select crops most suitable for buffer zones, fire breaks, and village forest plantations; and
  • promote small scale honey production.

4. Public awareness raised regarding losses resulting frotilforestfires and value offorest resources through the following activity:

  • promote fire risk awareness in school children, develop educational and promotional material for public and schools.

5. Practical means of forest fire protection established for South Sumatra through the following activity:

  • investigate smoke incidence and smoke abatement procedures.

Forest Fire Management Component

The main results of the Forest Fire Management component, as described by the Fire Management Expert in the final report (FFPCP 1998), were as follows;

  • the arrival of fire fighters takes a very long time, so the fires are not quickly attacked; the number of fire fighters is insufficient and the fire fighting is not very effective;
  • equipment is inadequate and insufficient;
  • protection of, and training of, the fire fighters is poor, and the work they engage in is dangerous;
  • the command structures and communication systems are often weak or non-existent;
  • during fire fighting, members of concerned authorities were always present (bupati, camat, ABRJ, police); and
  • volunteer fire crews are important because the number of official fire fighters is insufficient.

NOAA AVHRR Receiving and Processing System in Palembang

The equipment was installed in the BIPHUT Palembang by FFPCP in 1995. Since late 1995, it has provided Kanwil Kehutanan, South Sumatra, and PHPA, Bogor, with summary data of hot spots and their occurrence in relation to HTI and HPH boundaries, and to forest/non-forest areas (according to NFI). The data covered South Sumatra in particular and southern Sumatra in general. From May 1997, when warnings of a severe El Niho event were made, these data and the fire danger rating were made available on a daily basis. A detailed description of this component is given in the final project report (FFPCP 1998).

Research on Fire Risk and Fire Danger Assessment

As part of a 3-year (1995-98) adaptive research project supported by the DFID Forest Research Programme (FRP), a research project on fire risk assessment was established between IFSSP and NRI. The overall aim of the NRI research was to provide better tools to help fire managers make more informed decisions with respect to fire prevention and control. The research involved the development of new methodologies to detect fires with NOAA-AVHRR and the creation of userfriendly tools for integrating fire data into a GIS.

The NRI-IFSSP research project ran from September-December 1997 and consisted of the following phases, as described in the final project report (FFPCP 1998):

Phase 1 – Production of fire risk maps developed by integrating historical fire data (hot spots 1996-97) into a GIS,-

Phase 2 – Development of new methodologies for the estimation of fire danger rating – NOAA-AVHRR imagery was analysed to produce a fuel status in terms of moisture (fire danger rating). The methodology used vegetation indices Fire (Relative Greenness Index) and land surface temperature derived from AVHRR and linked it with the Soil Dryness Index (daily maximum air temperature and evapotranspiration measurements);

Phase 3 – Development of a new methodology for the integration of fire risk maps and fire danger to provide a first estimation of fire risk occurrence – The results cannot yet be used operationally because research is still required to quantify the accuracy. In the future additional factors such as weather danger (wind), elevation and slope, fuel type, and fuel load should also be taken into consideration.

Conclusions and Recommendations

These were, as described in the final project report (FFPCP 1998):

  • there is a direct relationship between wildfire risk/fire frequency and clearing operations of plantation and reforestation companies; even in years with a short dry season there is a high risk;
  • a high forest fire risk and frequency is related to reforestation activities;
  • in peat and swamp areas there is a high wildfire risk but not forest fire risk during normal dry season; wildfire risk outside forest areas is clearly higher than in inside forest areas; and
  • involvement of the local communities in fire control activities is imperative through fire awareness campaigns, alternative sources of fuels (compost, cattle breeding, pulpwood), and activities such as bee keeping.

Phase 2

The final report recommended that the results and experience of Phase I be implemented in a Phase 2 at the three pilot project sites. The objective would be to establish integrated systems for forest fire prevention and control systems in the three areas. The strategy would be to ‘reduce thefire incidence through improvement of the socioeconomic conditions by means of establishing forest areas on “wasteland” with the participation of selected villages on a commercial basis.’


FFPCP. 1998. Projects’s Final Workshop for Phase 1. 24-25 February 1998 in Palembang. Input papers form Project Experts. Ministry of Forestry and European Union, European Commission. NRI, BCEOM Indonesia, CIRAD Forest and SCOT Conseil



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