RIAU, Indonesia , June 30, 2021 (Press Release) -APRIL Group announced today a Fire Danger Period across all of its own and supplier concession areas in Riau province, Indonesia from 1 July to 30 September 2021. Fire Danger Period declarations are a key element of APRIL’s integrated landscape approach to forest fire management and part of the company’s continued commitment to working with government agencies, other concession holders and communities to limit the use of fire during the dry season.
APRIL Group is a member of the RGE group of companies. RGE manages a group of resource-based manufacturing companies with global operations.
The Fire Danger Period alerts APRIL teams and local communities in Riau to maintain vigilance to the possibility of fires occurring in surrounding areas. It also signals to local communities that fire restrictions will come into force in APRIL-managed forest areas, which means that they cannot light a fire in the open air. Notice boards, village meetings and other communications will inform communities of the required restrictions.
“Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, we will continue our efforts to raise awareness among local communities about the need to prevent fires from starting during the upcoming fire season,” said Sihol Aritonang, President Director, PT. Riau Andalan Pulp and Paper (PT. RAPP), the operating arm of APRIL Group.
“Years of experience have shown that close cooperation with communities, allied with a strong fire detection and suppression capability, are key to mitigating the risk of fire during the dry season,” he said.
Craig Tribolet Head of Sustainability Operations, APRIL Group, added: “The vast majority of the fire incidents we have attended in recent years have been addressed through close cooperation with communities. That is why we need to provide education on the risks of using the wrong kind of land preparation, like slash and burn techniques for clearing land, at this time of the year.”
“Prevention is a critical part of the fire management cycle, which is about stopping the fires before they start. People should be aware of the enormous damage that an uncontrolled fire can cause to themselves and their neighbors,” he said.
A major part of APRIL’s fire prevention strategy is the Fire Free Village Program (FFVP). Set up in 2015 as a means of collaborating with NGOs, government and local authorities to promote community fire prevention through education and capacity building at a community level, the FFVP is aligned with the company’s no burn policy and ongoing commitment to fire prevention.
FFVP teams work in close consultation with local communities to address the underlying causes of fires through socialization, education and increased awareness of the impacts of unmanaged burning and smoke haze. The total land area covered by the FFVP - through partnerships with 33 villages - is approximately 693,187 hectares.
“Our fire prevention teams work hard across the whole year to ensure a high level of preparedness, readiness and fire suppression capability, said Dani Sumitran, Fire Prevention and Conservation Manager, APRIL Group.
“We will work together with all stakeholders, including government agencies, other concession holders and communities in Riau to reduce the amount of burning that happens every year,” she said.
To ensure high levels of preparedness and immediate suppression of all fires on or near APRIL’s concession areas, APRIL will also increase ground and air patrols by fire suppression crews, and continue to work with local communities on fire prevention during the Fire Danger Period.
As of December 2020, the company can call on 2,275 trained firefighters. This group includes 1,156 initial attack fire fighters, who are the first to be assigned to manage fire incidents, 640 secondary or backup firefighters, and 480 local community fire fighters.
They are supported by three 30-metre fire monitoring towers, 50 18-meter towers and 50 65-meter CCTV towers to keep watch for fires across the landscape. As a pre-emptive measure, APRIL will respond to fires up to three kilometers outside its concession areas and support the fire suppression activities carried out by local Government authorities in Riau province and surrounding areas. It also operates a 24-hour Fire Hotline (+62 811 707 2121) to enable people to report on fires occurring within or near its concession areas.
About APRIL Group:
APRIL Group is a leading producer of fibre, pulp and paper with plantations and manufacturing operations in Riau Province, Indonesia. We are committed to sustainability in our business and in the broader landscapes where we operate. Under our production-protection model, we adopted a unique 1- for-1 goal where we aim to conserve one hectare of forest for every hectare of plantation, and currently conserve and restore about 370,000 hectares of forests, including the largest peatland restoration project in Indonesia.