Fire Team Action

My name is Richi, logistics and volunteer coordinator at Greenpeace Southeast Asia - Indonesia. Recently, I coordinate the activities of forest fire fighting in Prorinsi Riau, Sumatra, Indonesia from July 31 to August 6, 2009.
After two years I finally returned to the village of Kuala Cenaku, my feet stood firm on these wetlands. Not much has changed in this small village, but this time I was struggling to breathe in the thick smell of smoke from forest fires every year crippling Riau province on Sumatra's east coast, opposite Singapore. I am here to inspect firefighting equipment and prepare the team for extinguishing forest fires burned peatlands back and uncontrolled.

I first arrived in the village of Kuala Cenaku at the end of 2007, as part of a team of Greenpeace Forest Defenders Camp prior to the Bali Climate Change Conference, to highlight the destruction of forests in Indonesia that continues only for the opening of oil palm plantation, the extent of very influential impact on climate change , the community and the richness of diversity that depends on this amazing forest.


In 2007, Greenpeace activists and volunteers help local communities build the Forest Defenders Camp in the heat of 40 degrees Celsius and during Ramadan. Some of the community to join with us to stem the canals that make Kuala Cenaku river water is mixed with water in the dried peat land which intentionally by Vendor palm oil. Next we work together to audit the biodiversity in forest areas threatened with extinction due to conversion of the opening of oil palm plantations.

In addition, we jointly take part in forest fire fighting exercises, using equipment provided by Greenpeace, in preparation for the annual forest fires that have become like the plague crops in the province of Sumatra and Kalimantan. Indonesia is very rapid deforestation and destruction of communities and who depend on forests. Once the company's oil palm and pulp are given permission to open it will be a lot happening opening illegally by national and local governments, so that people begin to feel the loss of land and their livelihoods.

This time the first thing I do is check the equipment we had left since 2007. Unfortunately I found it was not well maintained equipment, water pumps which are quite expensive requiring immediate care and some water hoses have been encroached on rats the size of a cat in Jakarta.

After repair the equipment, I started to build a firefighting team, I contacted members of the community who have been involved training of forest fires in 2007, adding new members from villages near Rengat and the 15-member strong team is completed by volunteers and friends friends from Jakarta and Pekanbaru.

After doing a couple of times a field survey and satellite data, we finally managed to find a fire in the peat soil in an area approximately 40 minutes away from Kuala Cenaku village, on a large island in the middle of Indragiri river, Isle Bracelet. We need 6 pompongs (creek boat) to deliver all equipment and teams to the island. It takes 15 minutes walk from the riverbank to reach the location of the fire.

Fully equipped firefighting team with a safety helmet, goggles goggles, masks and boots are sturdy. We were divided into 2 teams, team posters along the 300-meter hose into a high pressure water pump and turn it on. And the other team saw the fire, prepare the equipment and resources. We did a blackout during the seven days from 9 am to 5 pm.
We face a lot of burning tantangan.Wilayah situated on peatlands near the premises of oil palm plantations there is lots of dry grass. It is very difficult to extinguish fires in peatlands because of the amount of dry vegetation. Drought and strong winds also make fire fighting extremely difficult. We need time to spray water into underground continuously since peat fires are under and also the surface. We must be careful because not trapped by a fire that can not be predicted this.

Other circumstances that make fire fighting difficult is the water supply because of the canals and rivers are far Darin area burned. We finally borrowed the hose along 500 meters of Bukit Tigapuluh National Park that is located not too far away. Place, we seldom see the flames when it gets light, just thick smoke.

Kabakaran most visible at night when we lay exhausted in camps while we
After five days of firefighting efforts difficult on the island of bracelets, we were able to extinguish the fire area of 10 hectares. Time to move towards Sukajadi Village, 40 minutes from the island of bracelets after hearing of the village chief that the village was threatened by fire.

We arrived in the village of Sukajadi at 8 pm and get ready to face the thick smoke of forest fires. The village is far away from water supplies, so we once again use the hose 500 meters to extinguish the fire until we were sure the village is safe. We finally fell exhausted About a 3 am. Thankfully we struggle to turn off fire works.
On August 6, 2009, after successfully saving 25-acre forest and Sukajadi Village, With heavy hearts we stop the fire fighting activities. This may not sound like much, but that's the best thing we can provide given the limited resources and time.

It is unfortunate, when we were struggling to extinguish the fire with the local community., The Government of Indonesia only do fire fighting workshop in Pekanbaru with the United States. Koramilpun and not doing anything to help the people who attacked a wave of forest fires.
< http://www.greenpeace.org/seasia/id/news/kebakaran_hutan >
We mengiinkan The Indonesian government immediately act to stop forest fires have always occurred. And do the reduction before the fire began to burn in the first place. Using fire to clear land is illegal under Indonesian law, but by the number of wildfires fueled freely by plantation workers to prepare for oil palm and pulp. Addressing the weakness of law enforcement and the many companies with offhand lokallocal blame society that burned.
Bravo fire teams and everyone who supported us. ....
- Richi
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