With the El Nino phenomenon creating extra dry conditions this year, the haze is back. Here at GAR, we take the haze issue very seriously. As a company, we are allocating significant resources towards the prevention, management and suppression of fires.
Due to El Nino resulting in a prolonged dry season, fires have started outside of our concessions but have then spread into some of our plantations. Currently both vegetation and soil are extremely dry and water levels in rivers and streams have fallen drastically creating a conducive environment for fires to catch and spread.
One of the key measures we are taking is to set up a Response Team at HQ Fire Command Post in Jakarta to monitor hotspots and coordinate the daily reporting of fires in our concessions.
What does the Response Team do?
- Monitoring of hotspots and fire spots
- Mapping fire-prone areas
- Developing a system for early detection of fire
- Mobilising of onsite Emergency Response Teams
- Managing firefighting equipment
- Training of Emergency Response Teams
- Finding the cause of fire
- Mitigating fire risks
Who’s in charge?
It is important to have a well-defined structure and process in place, where everyone understands their duties. There is no room for confusion or uncertainty. The Response Team is built on the following structure:
The Fire Commander is the leader of the Team. This important role is led by Mr. Vijaya Kumaran (Pak Vijay), our Head of Upstream Sustainability Implementation.
“I believe in total dedication and cooperation from the top to bottom in order for a team to function efficiently. There is no room for error when it comes to emergencies,” said Pak Vijay.
Where`s the fire?
A hotspot is a satellite image pixel with high infrared intensity, indicating a heat source. A hotspot may represent one fire or be one of several hotspots representing a larger fire. Not all fires can be identified from satellite imagery, either because the fires are too small or because cloud cover obscures the satellite’s view of the ground.
This is the identification and organisation process when potential fire is spotted on satellite images:
With the Response Team in place and digital equipment to monitor fires, this provides us with the vital information needed to fight fires. This makes it relatively easier and quicker for onsite emergency response teams to contain and put out fires.
We will talk about how we fight fires in our next blog post. Stay alert!