Asia Pulp & Paper Group (APP) has deployed specialist fire management teams and firefighters from Working on Fire (WoF) to enhance national firefighting efforts currently underway in South Sumatra, Indonesia.
Managing wildfire requires effective integration of ground and aerial resources, as well as up-to-date intelligence on local conditions such as fuel loads, humidity, temperature and wind, all of which ultimately determine fire behaviour. Combined, these factors will be used to determine the fire management strategy for any given day during a fire disaster scenario.
The addition of the WoF teams into APP and its pulpwood suppliers’ firefighting management teams will enhance fire suppression strategy and implementation. WoF will also provide tactical air support for APP’s fleet of helicopters and the operation of two Beriev Be-200 firefighting air-tankers. This air-ground coordination will increase the effectiveness of fire suppression efforts. In addition, WoF will deploy experienced firefighters to work directly with the ground crews of APP’s pulpwood suppliers.
The rainy season has started in parts of Sumatra, Kalimantan and Java this week, which has helped to reduce the number of hotspots in Indonesia. This has provided a much needed break that allowed the firefighting teams to consolidate their resources and enhance the existing firefighting strategy.
Leon Conradie, Managing Director of WoF Asia Pacific said “Our experienced teams from South Africa and Australia arrived this week and started working immediately. The first thing we did was to look at the affected regions and review suppression measures taken so far – what works and what more can be done. We found extreme rates of spread and long distance spotting, with embers being carried more than 500 meters by strong winds. Conventional suppression tactics do not work in these conditions. Our Incident Command teams and firefighters are trained for these conditions and will apply a combination of proven techniques to contain the spread of fires. I am confident that we can have the fires on APP suppliers’ concessions in South Sumatra contained in a matter of days. After that, mopping up operations can start to deal with the areas of burning peat.”
Aida Greenbury, Managing Director of Sustainability at APP said “This national crisis has an unacceptable cost to the environment and people’s lives. The size of the challenge has been unprecedented, exacerbated by this year’s El Nino phenomenon being one of the most severe in decades. Fire prevention and suppression is APP’s immediate and greatest priority, and we are continuing to review steps we can take to maximize the effectiveness of our approach.”
Experts have forecasted that El Nino will last until May 2016. APP is therefore taking preventive steps now to ensure its pulpwood suppliers are better prepared for 2016.
Greenbury added “The solution to forest fires requires stakeholders to collaborate and implement actions at a landscape level. This includes urgent preventive actions to reduce the risk of fires reoccurring. We have already begun this work across our pulpwood suppliers’ concessions such as by blocking canals to raise water levels in the plantations on peatland and are making progress on the development and implementation of our Peatland Best Practices Management in Riau, Jambi, South Sumatra and West Kalimantan.”
With the addition of the WoF specialists, APP pulpwood suppliers’ firefighting resources now include more than 2,900 trained fire fighters, fire suppression helicopters, two firefighting air-tankers, satellite monitoring including via Global Forest Watch, and surveillance drones. In addition, APP’s community engagement programs have to date reached more than 2,600 people across 220 villages in the local area, providing training and equipment for forest fire management personnel and members of local communities. With the assistance of WoF, APP will also be reviewing existing capacity and strategies and develop longer term measures to prevent recurrence of this year’s fire and haze conditions.
About Working on Fire
Working on Fire (WoF) is a member of the Kishugu Group. It has over 30 years’ experience in wildland firefighting and are world leaders in supplying Integrated Fire Management Services to forestry and other land users globally. WoF provides turnkey solutions to prevent, manage and suppress wildfires and employ over 9 000 people and operate over 100 aircraft worldwide, all engaged in supplying and supporting wildfire management. In the last year alone WoF were engaged in suppression activities in large disaster fires on four continents, with deployments in Australia, North and South America and Africa.
WoF’s specialised teams are experts in all manner of wildfire scenarios, from the grasslands of South America to the tropical forests and peatlands of Africa and beyond. WoF has the experience and capacity needed to tailor make solutions to specific challenges.
WoF takes an integrated approach which looks at all aspects of wildfire management. The services offered by WoF includes: Training, Equipment, Research and Development of specialised solutions, Prevention, Awareness, Detection, Dispatch and Coordination and Suppression.
Since 2003 Working on Fire provides wildfire management and suppression capacity for the whole of South Africa with over 6 000 firefighters deployed at 200 ground bases and aviation support at 25 air bases spread across the country.
Asia Pulp & Paper Group (APP) is a trade name for a group of pulp and paper manufacturing companies. APP is responsible for delivering quality products to meet the growing global demand for tissue, packaging and paper. On any given day, our products find their way into the hands of consumers in various branded forms all over the world.
Started in 1972 with Tjiwi Kimia producing caustic soda, now we run nine mills located in Java and Sumatra islands with an annual combined pulp, paper, packaging product and converting capacity of over 9 million tons. Today, APP markets its products in more than 120 countries across six continents.
Over the years, we have expanded our operations significantly through the acquisition and expansion of several of our pulp and paper mills. It’s our commitment to customer satisfaction that enables us to grow our share in paper sales worldwide and broaden our presence through offices in many countries. We believe ‘tradition and modernity go hand in hand’ which means we value long term relationships as part of our Eastern traditions, while we also are eager to embrace the modern values of innovation and efficiency.
Maintaining the integrity of our supply chain is also crucial to APP’s operations. APP launched its Sustainability Roadmap Vision 2020 in June 2012 and its Forest Conservation Policy in February 2013, to further improve its environmental performance, biodiversity conservation, and protection of community rights. Key objectives of this roadmap are to ensure that its pulpwood suppliers adopt High Conservation Value (HCV) and High Carbon Stock (HCS) protection, peatland protection, and be 100% Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) certified by 2020.
In April 2014, APP launched its commitment to support the protection and restoration of one million hectares of forest in Indonesia. In line with that commitment, by 2015 APP and its suppliers have allocated approximately 600,000 hectares for conservation within its suppliers’ concessions and for ecosystem restoration.
Learn more about APP’s path to operational excellence by reading our Sustainability Reports and Forest Conservation Policy on: www.asiapulppaper.com