Rimba Raya has encouraged and facilitated the creation of Community Field Patrols and Fire Fighting Brigades, aimed at providing local communities with fire prevention and suppression abilities. In 2015, alone, USD $200,000+ was spent on fire fighting equipment and training of community fire brigades.
The Fire Fighting Initiative encourages communication between all villages within the Reserve and teaches the importance of cooperation with a shared responsibility in confronting the dangers posed by both canopy forest fires (which regrow) as well as peat fires (which can travel underground for kilometers and burn for months with minimal visibility).
The best line of defense against forest fires is prevention, facilitated by community awareness. This initiative promotes a “core” team, which visits all other fire-fighting teams within the Rimba Raya to provide awareness, refresher training and equipment inspection. The initiative and it’s members currently focus on:
- Development of a daily ‘Fire Danger Rating’ system to order firefighting teams to begin conducting patrols in high risk areas surrounding the Rimba Raya concession.
- Providing Proper Equipment to allow rapid mobilization and effective fire suppression capabilities.
- Effective And Frequent Training
- Monitoring and Patrolling Schedules
- A fire prevention information campaign, popularizing the Indonesian national mascot for fire prevention, ‘Si Pongi’
In 2015, by a literal “Trial By Fire”, Rimba Raya, Community Field Patrols and Fire Brigades largely kept in check what was otherwise a catastrophic year for fires throughout Indonesia