As part of UNSPIDER’s mission to showcase the effective use of to monitor disasters and its impacts, the Indonesian National Institute of Aeronautics and Space (LAPAN) has published the booklet “Lessons Learnt from Forest and Land Fires in Indonesia.” Its aim is to promote the exchange of knowledge about the application of remote sensing for forest and land fire monitoring.
Forest and land fires are phenomena which can affect many communities worldwide and provoke great damages. Contributing to climate change, this specific type of disaster can cause important economic, social and environment losses mostly for equatorial and subtropical regions. Current estimations state that 85% of fires occur primarily in Africa, South America and Southeast Asia. In the case of Indonesia, losses can amount to $15 billion. In Sumatera (Sumatra) and Kalimantan, almost every year, thousands of hectares of forest and lands are consumed by wildfire resulting in loss of property with significant economic costs and environmental impacts. Forest fires often result as a consequence of improperly conducted deforestation procedures. Forest and land fire has become a serious threat to global communities for the last two decades, especially related to the aspects of environments and natural resources degradation.
Space-based technologies are powerful tools to support the full cycle of forest fire management such as locating fire prone areas, providing early warning, emergency response and post fire assessment. The booklet “Lessons Learnt from Forest and Land Fires in Indonesia” describes the use of remote sensing applications for forest and land fires monitoring, including fire hot-spot monitoring, smoke and haze monitoring, burned area mapping and fire danger rating systems. The advantages of remote sensing data are distinctive in fire monitoring and haze/smoke detection. For example, the frequent revisit interval and extensive coverage of remote sensing data provide possibilities of near real-time monitoring of fires and enhance early warning.