Village head: fires rage Sinar Mas pulpwood plantation

EoF News / 05 November 2010

EoF News (PEKANBARU)—A village leader in Giam Siak Kecil – Bukit Batu forest block said that forest and land fires in the area worsened this week, where 500 hectares of community plantations and Sinar Mas pulpwood plantation raged by fires.

Riau Pos and Metro Riau newspapers reported recently that forest fires escalated again in Bukit Batu subdistrict of Bengkalis district after nearly two weeks extinguished by heavy rains.

Eyes on the Forest analyzed via Modiss Terra Aqua satellite within 4 days (1-4 November) that around 12 out of 18 firehotspots detected in concessions of pulpwood plantations affiliated to both Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) and Asian Pacific Resources International Limited (APRIL).

There are 8 hotspots found in APP/Sinar Mas concessions including in PT Sakato Pratama Makmur (buffer zone of Giam Siak Kecil Biosphere Reserve), PT Arara Abadi  in Siak and Kepulauan Meranti districts, PT Rimba Rokan Perkasa (Libo block in Bengkalis) and PT Suntara Gajapati (Senepis block in Rokan Hilir).

Four hotspots detected in APRIL affiliated companies including in PT Siak Raya Timber (Kampar), PT Uni Seraya (Pelalawan), and PT Eka Wana Lestari Dharma (Siak).

“We estimate the land fires reaching 500 hectares inside plantations and pulpwood concession of Sinar Mas and on Wednesday [3 Nov] 25 houses and a motorbike raged by fires and added on Thursday as one more house burned down in that area,” said Mahadar, Village Head of Tanjung Leban, as quoted by as saying on Thursday (4/11/2010).

Mahadar said that it was very hard to extinguish the fires that occurred in peatlands as the villagers have no adequate equipments.

EoF learned Sinar Mas concession that mentioned by the newspaper reports is PT Sakato Pratama Makmur which also raged by fires last month. 

EoF has reported two weeks ago that within four days, 18-21 October, there were 172 hotspots throughout Riau provinces where 45% of them located in both APP and APRIL concessions.