Development of a Peat Fire Danger System for Indonesia

FIRE DANGER RATING SYSTEMS

Fire Danger Rating Systems (FDRS) are used around the world to help predict and prevent wildfires. Forest and land fires are a severe problem in Indonesia, with smoke and haze production exacerbated by the country’s extensive tropical peatlands, many of which are drained and burn almost annually (Graham, 2021). Thus, major fire events are a recurrent problem for Indonesia, especially in peatlands when the peat itself ignites.

Peat fires result in toxic haze, causing disruption, significant financial costs and adverse health impacts. While non-peatland wildfires are hazardous, and surface peatland fires risk igniting the peat, it is most problematic for emissions and pollution when the peat itself starts to burn. For targeted and appropriate fire management, a FDRS needs to be able to distinguish between a non-peatland fire, a peatland fire (surface only), and a peat fire. For this reason, our first policy brief focuses on the need for development of a specific Peat Fire Danger Rating System (PFDRS) for Indonesian peatlands.

MORE DATA NEEDED

In October 2021, Gambut Kita brought key stakeholders together for a presentation of the findings from our fire research. This event, our first policy dialogue in the upcoming series, highlighted the need for more biophysical ground data that is specific to peatlands. In this context, our researchers have analysed the current availability of peatlands data and have provided the following colour-code to show where data gaps may still exist.

Colour-Coding for Research Findings on Data Availability

AN EMERGING DIALOGUE

In addition to the presentation of findings made by Gambut Kita, the event included three highly detailed presentations on existing FDRS in place in Indonesia.
Firstly, the presentation from the Ministry of Environment and Forestry (KLHK) featured the SIPPEG monitoring platform and the SIMATAG fire danger rating system which was developed in 2018 to focus on fire in concession areas.

Secondly, the presentation from BRG elaborated upon the PRIMS system. Detailed information is available in English at their website: www.en.prims.brg.go.id

Lastly, the Bureau of Meteorology (BMKG) made a presentation on their existing FDRS, known as SPARTAN (Sistem Kebakaran Hutan dan Lahan). As a result of the policy dialogue it emerged that any additional data generated on peatlands can in fact be entered into the SPARTAN system to complement the existing data on peatlands.

Another pleasing outcome of our ongoing research on peat fires has been the establishment of a PFDRS Stakeholder Engagement Network that includes relevant stakeholders such as BMKG (Indonesian Agency for Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics), BPPT (Agency for the Assessment and Application of Technology), LAPAN (National Institute of Aeronautics and Space) and KLHK (Ministry of Environment and Forestry, MoEF).
For more information about our policy dialogue series, please see our Policy Briefs and Presentations in the Publications section under the Resources tab.

References: L L B Graham et al 2021 IOP Conf. Ser.: Earth Environ. Sci. 874 012010

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