Up to 67% of South Sumatra Prone to Land and Forest Fires: Forestry Office

Diana Mariska
Forest fire illustration (Photo: Riau Online/DEFRI CANDRA)
Forest fire illustration (Photo: Riau Online/DEFRI CANDRA) - The South Sumatra’s forestry office has revealed that up to 67 percent of the province’s territory are highly prone to land and forest fires, and among the causes is its one million hectares of peat forests.

Head of ecosystem conservation at the province’s forestry office Safrul Yunardy said the large area of peat forests within the province’s 91,000 square kilometers region makes more than half of South Sumatra being prone to land and forest fires, especially since fire is difficult to put out in peatlands and peat forests.

“Peat is different; if it catches fire, then it will be difficult to put out. That makes South Sumatra one of the provinces in Indonesia that are prone to land and forest fires,” Yunardy said on Wednesday, July 6, as reported by Antara.

Based on fire occurrences from 2015 to 2021, land and forest fires always happen in six regencies, which are Ogan Komering Ilir, Banyuasin, Musi Banyuasin, Ogan Ilir, Musi Rawas, and Muaraenim.

Fires in the six regencies usually start in May and will reach their peak period in October.

And based on this finding, a task force has been prepared prior to May to anticipate and mitigate any potential disaster.

“Learning from past experiences, now South Sumatra knows when to prioritize the handling of fires,” Yunardy said again.

He said there has been a shift in fire pattern that is driven by peat ecosystem function. In 2015, land and forest fires happened frequently in production forests, but in 2019, there were more fires in areas used or managed by rights holders.

And in 2015, more fires happened in peatlands for conservation while in 2019, more fires were recorded in peatlands for cultivation.

Such changes are expected to become the basis for authorities to formulate the next mitigation step, so fire prevention and handling in South Sumatra becomes more effective.

Tag # forest and land fires # peatland fires # south sumatra # forest fire # natural disaster in indonesia

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