Last Friday, the World Resources Institute (WRI) published detailed data on the location of forest and land fires on Sumatra, which have spread a noxious and harmful haze across Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore, and caused widespread public concern. Governments from all three nations, many companies, and news outlets are seeking data to help understand the origin and spread of the fires, and determine who should be held accountable.
WRI now has an updated assessment of fire alerts in Sumatra, showing the progression of alerts through time and location in relation to company concessions. The new analysis incorporates two important data updates:
New fire alerts from NASA’s Active Fire Data, which shows the most recent fire alerts for the period of June 20-23 (previous analysis was for June 12-20).
More recent concession and land use maps from the Indonesian Ministry of Forestry, dated 2013. The new version of our Interactive Map overlays NASA’s Active Fire Data and the updated 2013 concession data.
NOTE: The visualizations below are based on publicly available data from NASA and the Government of Indonesia. WRI experts have done their best to verify this information, but cannot confirm the accuracy of the original information.
From the maps, WRI has tabulated the number of fire alerts by date, and identified how many alerts occurred within or outside concession areas.
Updated tables showing the concessions that contain the most fire alerts, based on the 2013 concession data, can be found below.
The new data highlights two key trends:
The number of fire alerts across Indonesia continues to remain high, suggesting that the fires on the ground remain a serious issue. As NASA’s data shows, the fire alerts peaked on June 19, which had a much higher number of fire alerts than any other day. Since then, every day has continued to show a relatively high number of fire alerts, with June 21 and June 23 ranking second and third highest.
A higher percentage of fire alerts are now occurring within company concessions, when compared with a few days ago. For the period of June 12-23, as the total number of fire hotspots increased, the proportion occurring inside concessions also increased.
While the new data has helped to reveal these new trends, it remains incomplete. Concession maps for 2013 are still not available to the public and cannot be accessed freely online. This and other data, such as details on company ownership, would strengthen the ability of groups working on this issue to conduct analysis, including the Indonesian government.
If the Indonesian government, companies, and communities can work to make this data publically available, it will be an important step to preventing future fire crises, and ensuring a more sustainable future for Indonesia’s forests and people.
Cecelia Song, Andrew Leach, and other experts at WRI also contributed to this post.