Forest Fire Hotspot Analysis (1st August – 28th September, 2019:

Hotspots Mostly Located Within Forest Area, Needed National Fire-prone Map and the Environment and Forestry Ministry’s Restructure

Jakarta, 29 September 2019—The disastrous forest and peatland fires in 2015 was not the last worst one. Four years later, after disbursing trillions of rupiah of governmental budget for prevention and countermeasures efforts, forest and peat fire returns during the dry season.

Auriga analyzes hotspots prevalence with confidence level >80%, which strongly suggests the occurrence of fire, during the period from 1st August 2019 to 28 September, 2019. Hotspots data is acquired from NASA FIRMS (Fire Information for Resource Management System, Auriga team overlaid hotspot map with land designation and utilization map, among others, forest area, non-forest or other utilization area (APL), peatland hydrological unit (KHG), as well as forestry and plantation concession areas.

The map analysis found 19.853 hotspot (>80%) were detected across Indonesia from 1st August to 28th September 2019. About 66% (13.069 hotspots) were located within forest areas, while the remaining (6.784 hotspots) occurred within APL. Thus, Environment and Forestry Ministry is the state institution that must be held accountable for the appearance of hotspots.

Five provinces with the highest hotspot occurrences are Central Kalimantan (6.332 hotspot), West Kalimantan (3.782 hotspot), Jambi (2.837 hotspot), South Sumatra (1.985 hotspot) and Riau (1.950 hotspot). These provinces represent 85% of the total hotspot prevalence across Indonesia during the period of hotspots analysis.

Analyzing further the hotspot within forest area, hotspots were predominantly taken place in forests area with hotspot as many as 9.405 hotspot—industrial forest or HTI (1.947 hotspot), selective logging concession or HPH (1.597 hotspot), area without permit (4.791 hotspot), and plantation (1.061 hotspot)—followed by 2.201 hotspot in protected forest and 1.463 hotspot in conservation area. From this prevalence, 66% hotspots within forest area is located under direct management of the Ministry of Environment and Forestry (KLHK).

When analyzed based on land use, the analysis found 7.343 hotspot (37%) are located within concessions (industrial forest or HTI, selective logging concession or HPH, and palm oil plantation). Of the total hotspot out of burned concessions, 48% occurred in forestry concessions area registered as HTI and HPH.

The overlay of hotspot prevalence with KHG indicates that hotspot, both in forest area and APL, is mostly located in KHG. Of 13.069 hotspots within forest area, 9.295 are in KHG area. Similar to APL, of 6.784 hotspot, 4.263 are in KHG. Again, KLHK’s lack of transparency regarding restoration plan inside the forest areas has raised questions around the revision of forestry company’s work plan/map[1].

The next question rolls around the achievement of peat ecosystem restoration. The result of overlapping with the map of priority areas for peatland restoration is even more surprising. The location should have been in the post-2015 fire recovery process. Yet, from the hotspot prevalence in KHG area, 11.558 hotspots are scattered within priority locations of peat ecosystem; in which 8.228 hotspots (71%) spread within restoration priority areas within forest area and the remaining fires are located in APL.

The findings are alarming, considering that KLHK itself has just published the Ministerial Regulation known as P.10/2019. The regulation administers Stipulation, Determination, and Management of Dome Peat Dome Peaks that in fact reduces protection against hydrological peat[2]. With this regulation, exploitation on peatlands has been used as justification to expand, thereby increasing the enabling conditions for peatland fires in the future.

Based on the findings of the hotspots maps analysis mentioned above, Auriga recommends for KLHK:

  1. To develop a map of fire prone areas, and to conduct anticipatory measures before dry season and stay alert during dry season especially in fire prone areas;
  2. To restructure and reposition forest management directorates to ensure the presence of officers in the field (currently KLHK staff are mostly in Jakarta and/or provincial/district capital, not on duty in forest areas);
  3. To revise P.10/2019 to ensure peat management and protection based on hydrological units;
  4. To ensure public access to peatland restoration in HTI concessions, as well as the revision of general and annual work plan (RKU/RKT) of both logging and industrial forest companies.


For further details, contact:
Syahrul Fitra (Communications Director at AURIGA)


[1] Koalisi Anti Mafia Hutan, Oct 2018, More peatland fire disasters for Indonesia? Pulp companies and Government not transparent with restoration plans for fire-prone peatlands


[2] Eyes on the Forest, Aug 2019, Peat fires raging as Indonesian Government turns back the clock on restoration