The toxic smoke is smothering towns and villages once again


The forest fires in Borneo is getting worse again!

Despite some brief rainfall and our efforts to rewet the forest edge last few weeks, fires are now spreading into Sebangau Forest and toxic smoke is smothering towns and villages around Sebangau forest once again. There is 16,974 fire hotspot detected in Central Kalimantan during 1 – 10 September 2019. The numbers of hotspot increased 5 times more than last month.


Distribution of fire alerts in Central Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo during 1 – 10 September 2019 from Global Forest Watch

Indonesia Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Council (BMKG) predict that the dry season will continue until the end of September with no rain projected until the end of the month. It causes drought to get intense and more fire is expected.

Community Patrol Team from CIMTROP and Community Firefighting Team, both supported by BNF, on high alert every day to tackle the fires in Sebangau. They are continuing to rewet fire-prone areas on the edge of the Sebangau Forest. We also collaborate with Sebangau National Park to protect this area.


Forest Fire near Koran River, Sebangau National Park. Community Patrol Team and Community Firefighting Team collaborate with the Sebangau National Park Team are still tackle this fire until this blog release  
Photo by Sebangau National Park

Human activities on peatland, as described in our recent blog, typically involve peat drainage through man-made canals. BNF has build dams in the past several years on man-made canals to reduce the fire risk in Sebangau Forest. It shows the results this year. The area around the dams is still wet, so if there is a fire, it will not continue to spread into the depth of the peat.

We would like to give a special thank you to Darwin InitiativeThe Orangutan Project, Orangutan Appeal UK, Orangutan Outreach, and Orangutan Land Trust for the emergency support for this fire prevention activity.

You can also support this critical work to prevent forest fires in Borneo and help protect this globally important rainforest by donating online here. (DN)