Forest Fires Flare Up Again - Your Help Needed!

Fires in Sabangau, Borneo (CIMTROP Sept 09) Fires in Sabangau -CIMTROP© Images should not be used without permission 

We have just received the following communications from Professor Jack Rieley, a world expert on tropical peatlands, about the fire situation in Sabangau, which has worsened over the last few days. To help support the efforts of CIMTROP (Centre for International Cooperation in the Management of Tropical Peatland) the organisation on the ground tackling the fires, please use our general donation button and leave a comment stating your donation is for CIMTROP/Sabangau

Thank you for your support,

Orangutan Foundation

An SMS message from Dr Suwido Limin, director of CIMTROP, sent earlier today (24th Sept) from inside the major fire area in the upper Sabangau

  "Big fire started from our research transect, spread across middle of Taruna canal and trans Kalimantan highway up to dams 3&4. Fire speed is around 1 km per hour supported by strong wind all day. Now I am working at night with my team. The tree regeneration plot expected all burned but cannot see yet." 

 Putting out forest fires, Sabangau, Borneo (CIMTROP Sept 09)

Above and below -with limited resources CIMTROP tackle the fires. CIMTROP© Images should not be used without permissionBurnt peat forest (CIMTROP Sept 09)

This was followed by another SMS from Dr Suwido Limin.

"Now midnight. We are operating 4 pumps. I am manning one machine with Agung. I will work until morning but very tired."  

Tired but dedicated -fire fighting teams tackle fires all day and night (CIMTROP Sept 2009) 

Training - CIMTROP© Images should not be used without permission

Email from Dr Suwido Limin sent to Jack Rieley (22nd Sept).

 ‘I have just come from Kalampangan. On this afternoon, we started to implement a new method. The fires become worst again!  In Taruna and Kalampangan fires started on the afternoon of 20th of September. Our team are still trying as much as possible to secure and save this area, but the fires spread very fast and the wind is moving rapidly so that we are being overwhelmed. Our team is working very hard, all day and night and one person was injured. We tried to secure two towers and several research equipments. Some areas of our reforestation project have been burned (eventuality).  I’m personally indeed truly sad with the worst situation. All of the TSA (fire-fighting team) power is limited and we are hardly able to extinguish the fires at this location. Neither can we enter and check inside the area (using the tower) because the road along the canal was burned and created many holes of embers.'   

 Fire-fighting team (TSA) Sabangau, Borneo (CIMTROP Sept 09)

TSA Training CIMTROP© Images should not be used without permission

Email from Dr Jyrki Jauhiainen (22nd Sept), a research scientist at the University of Helsink, who was in the Sabangau area until a few days ago. 

Arrived back to Finland yesterday afternoon. Things may be really bad in our peat research sites now. Haze was bad until last Wednesday, but we succeeded to get our sampling done & gas monitoring sites established. Wednesday evening there was heavy rain and that cleared air and suppressed many of the surface fires. Things seemed to be under control again despite some wind breeze on Friday & Saturday morning. We left from Palangka Raya (PKY) on Saturday as the sky was still clear (probably that was the last Garuda flight for some time).  SMS messages from PKY have been sad: gas monitoring plot & equipment in Block-B Berengbenkel lost, Kalampangan open area plot lost, Japanese open area minitower likely lost, Suwido worried about fate of tall Japanese towers and base camp, Taruna village evacuated, Siemenpuu area likely lost, many firemen in hospital due to respiratory problems… Many of the above mentioned areas cannot be accessed due to thick smoke and now health of people is more important. Suwido must be quite depressed and tired.’ 

Please consider donating to help CIMTROP tackle these fires.