Last week, in the villages of Kereng Bangkirai and Sabaru, the Borneo Nature Foundation (BNF) Conservation Team, led by its Manager, Yunsiska Ermiasi SP, M.Si presented firefighting equipment and supplies to members of the Kereng Bangkirai and Sabaru Community Firefighting Teams (MPA). Purchase of this firefighting equipment has been facilitated by funding received from the Indonesia Climate Change Trust Fund (ICCTF) which awarded a grant to BNF in 2017 as part of a programme entitled “Governance of Forests and Peatlands to Reduce Emissions in Indonesia through Local Activities”.
Both Community Firefighting Teams were formed in June 2017, comprising members of the communities of Kereng Bangkirai and Sabaru, the villages which are closest to the Sabangau peat-swamp forest where BNF has been conducting research and conservation activities since 1999. The formation of these firefighting teams is not only for the protection of the forest, farmland and gardens in the sub-district of Sabangau, but also to assist firefighting efforts in residential areas.
During the ceremony, which was attended by the heads of each village, a complete set of the firefighting equipment required to protect the forest, rural and residential areas was presented to each firefighting team, including water pumps, hoses and protective uniforms.
In addition to congratulating selected members of both teams, Mr. Arbanu S.Sos, the Village Head of Kereng Bangkirai, encouraged all team members to carry out their duties to the best of their abilities, to care about the environment and actively monitor areas in the vicinity of Kereng Bangkirai which are at risk from fire.
In the future, Community Firefighting Team members will receive training on the basic methods and techniques involved in controlling fires in forests, rural and residential areas. This training will be assisted by the TSAK Bukit Tunggal, a long-established local firefighting team which is highly experienced in fighting fires, particularly in and around Palangka Raya. In addition, the new firefighting teams will receive training from government agencies such as Climate Change Control Center for Forest Fire and lands of Kalimantan Area.