A Crisis Averted: The second fire in Laman Satong

Fire3A brush fire threatened the Laman Satong reforestation site over Idul Fitri holiday week. This is the second fire in the same reforestation site that experienced a devastating fire 2 years ago that took out hundreds of trees and most of ASRI reforestation team’s hard work. The fire is assumed to be started by a cigarette - a likely cause of the first fire too. However, this is a story of everything going right and displays the hard work put in place to mitigate a second disaster.

Pak Jul, the Laman Satong site coordinator, was in Ketapang on the Sunday before a weeklong holiday for the Clinic. While in Ketapang, Pak Jul felt a sudden need to return home from his vacation despite the fact that ASRI hired someone to watch the site while the team was away. Upon his return, he found everything was okay and unharmed.

On Monday afternoon, Pak Jul was woken mid-nap by his alarmed neighbors warning him of a fire that had started in the reforestation site. He grabbed his spray backpack and filled it with reserved water jugs stored throughout the neighborhood. Pak Jul and the neighbors were able to mitigate the fire within the first 30 minutes, and it only spread throughout 50 meters of rubbish on the side of the reforestation site.

It is because of the strong systems in place and Pak Jul's oversight that this potential disaster was quickly averted. We are incredibly thankful to have a reliable and dedicated team that is making it possible for the Laman Satong reforestation site to thrive!

Fire2

 

A few fun facts that made a difference:

  • After the first fire, Pak Jul had reached out to the surrounding neighbors of the reforestation site to ask if ASRI could store water jugs on their property in case of an emergency. Because of his proactive action, Pak Jul was able to have enough water readily available to fight the fire.
  • Just a week before, the reforestation team cleared out the ferns and other highly flammable vegetation that was overgrown in the exact location where the fired started. If this area was left overgrown, the vegetation would have acted as flint and accelerated the flames.
  • When Pak Jul started with ASRI in 2014, he told the ASRI Staff that he thought it would be important to live on-site. Over the past year, he invested in the reforestation site community and made a big effort to build strong relationships with his neighbors. That relationship made all of the difference and in turn saved the site from another loss.

Read more about Pak Jul and his dedication to reforestation: Resilience and Re-growth: Or how the reforestation site turned into a place for hosting dangut dance parties

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About Annie Jones | View all posts by Annie Jones

Annie was the On-Site Communications Manager at Health In Harmony in 2015. She was based at ASRI in Sukadana, West Kalimantan.