In a country where devastating forest fires occur on a regular basis during the dry period, fire prevention and the education thereof is of the utmost importance.
In 2014 Riau Andalan Pulp and Paper (RAPP), a unit of APRIL, initiated a program with the aim of promoting fire prevention in the Pelalawan region. They began providing incentives to villages that successfully prevent forest and land fires in and around their vicinities. These villages are Sering, Pulau Muda, Teluk Meranti and Teluk Binjai.
The incentives are the following: if a village is successful in preventing forest and land fires for a consecutive three months, RAPP will provide roughly RP 100 million (US$ 7670) worth of infrastructures for the village. However, if a fire does occur in their vicinity in an area smaller than one hectare, and they are able to extinguish it within 24 hours or less, RP 50 million (US$ 3844) will be awarded to the village in the form of a development fund or scholarships.
In February 2016, a large group of forestry and agricultural companies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and other concerned parties came together to found the Fire Free Alliance (FFA). Among these companies are the APRIL group and Asian Agri, both of which are part of the RGE Group of companies.
FFA members will share knowledge, information and resources as needed to introduce new fire prevention initiatives focused on the Fire Free Village Programme (FFVP). In the high risk areas, the FFA are working together to improve fire detection, monitoring and extinguishing of fires.
The FFVP is a community focussed program which seeks to prevent fires rather than fighting existing ones. By working with local villagers, the program enables and incentivises them to cease land burning practises. FFVP was devised, initiated and coordinated by APRIL, and has the support of two local NGOs, the local government, police, military and Riau’s Disaster Mitigation Agency.