Fires still burn in Borneo

Dr Suwido Limin sent this email today with photos - we hope the rain continues to fall. Last week Orangutan Foundation sent out £5,260 to CIMTROP (Centre for International Co-operation in Management of Tropical Peatland) to support their ongoing efforts.   Dear Jack, 

Fire situation particularly in Kalampangan is the worst during the el Niño this time.  

The TSA KALTENG team does work since 8 Aug 2009 to overcome the fires. In the period 18 to 27 September 2009, a fire broke out in Kalampangan is extremely worse and caused all of our reforestation areas and one tower burned down. This condition is very bad for us, and I personally felt very shocked, as if we were not able to handle it well. The entire team members were trying to extinguish the flames maximum. But due to limited manpower and people involved slightly, that we unable to fight the widespread fires.

Kalampangan tree on fire

Images: forest fires in Kalampangan, Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo CIMTROP©

  Fires in Kalampangan, Kalimantan , Indonesian Borneo

In Kalampangan is very difficult to enter the forest areas due to the thick smoke and haze. The entrance access to the forest inside has been damaged, so two teams tried to enter through the canal using a wooden boat and the other team went through the Sabangau river by boat and then walking around 2 hours to reach the area. This is really hard work and high risk.  

 Firefighter in Kalampangan, Indonesian Borneo

Fire fighter Kalampangan, Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo CIMTROP©

Meanwhile, fires in the Sabangau could be stopped by Patrol Unit Team and some of TSA member. Nevertheless most of people don’t care and unaware with this disaster, probably caused they think that the forest/land burned is not their own personally so they do not feel loss.  There is only 1 tower that can be secured, while 2 base camps which founded from Helsinki and Hokkaido Univ, both have been burned. Until now (8 Oct 2009) some of team members had not returned from the forest inside (in Kalampangan area), they are still working extinguishes the fire at some point because the fire occurred at the bottom layer of soil (ground fire).

Fires in Kalampangan, Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo

Kalampangan, Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo CIMTROP©

Since 4 days ago (2 Oct 2009) conditions in Central Kalimantan, Palangka Raya in particular, Kalampangan and Sabangau having occurred several times a heavy rain. This is very helpful, and the condition getting better. Hope that these good conditions continue, so that our environmental damage can be reduced. On behalf of Cimtrop and whole of members of the TSA KALTENG, I’m very grateful for the infinite care and support from various parties who have helped us financially. Forest and land is ours and for the life of our generations in the future.  

Best wishes,

Suwido H. Limin