Indonesia launches new forest fire detection app with ITTO support

Early fire suppression by a brigade in Banyuasin district, South Sumatera, Indonesia. (Photo: Zuhardi/ITTO)

A new app developed with the International Tropical Timber Organisation (ITTO) assistance has been launched in Indonesia to assist fire brigades in preventing and suppressing wildfires.

Forest wildfire is a major threat to human safety, infrastructure and ecosystems in many parts of Indonesia, and the app will assist in its control by increasing the availability of real-time information for firefighters.

The Indonesian Endowment Fund for Education, in collaboration with IPB University and the Indonesian Ministry of Environment and Forestry, launched the System Monitoring and Reporting Technology for Fire Prevention (SMART) Patrol Information at a hybrid event on 29–30 Jun 2022 as part of an ITTO initiative on fire management financed by the Government of Japan through its emergency funds.

The SMART Patrol Information System records and reports the real-time action of fire prevention patrols based on 79 parameters to better enable wildfire prevention, detection and early suppression.

It has three main components: a website, a database and a mobile app. The website and databases will assist policy development and decision-making on fire management, and the mobile app, which initially will only be available to fire management officials, enables fire brigades to report on wildfires. The data collected will be analysed and communicated to all stakeholders, including communities.

At the launch, Laksmi Dhewanthi, Indonesia’s Director General of Climate Change, welcomed the collaborative effort that enabled development of the system: “Fire prevention is a manifestation of stakeholders’ synergy involving the community as well as government to deliver quick responses in forest and land fire control.”

Hwan-ok Ma, projects manager of ITTO, also commented: “The ITTO–Ministry of Environment and Forestry project is playing an important role in building local capacity for the systematic application of integrated fire management in South and Central Kalimantan and South Sumatera. The development and launch of this app is another step towards increasing knowledge and capacity in integrated fire management in Indonesia.”

The launch of the SMART Patrol Information System was followed by a national seminar on forest and land fire prevention, attended by about 150 participants. The seminar shared experiences and approaches on fire prevention and reflected on its social aspects, with many wildfires in Indonesia caused by anthropogenic activities.

Lailan Syaufina, a fire specialist at IPB University and a speaker at the seminar, said that future fire management should consider social dimensions, landscape management, and multi-stakeholder partnerships.

Other topics reviewed at the seminar included remote sensing technology on fire prevention, fire management policies and phases, and participatory approaches to fire management.