PM Haze project led by Director Suresh Hathiramani and Rtn Varun reported in the local media.
MERANTI Regency, RIAU– Since February 2024, several areas in Indonesia have started to experience hot spots, including Riau, Kalimantan and many other areas. Even in the last month of Ramadan, there were cases of forest and land fires, for example on Rangsang Island, Meranti Islands Regency, which lasted for several days.

Facing the dry season this year, the Reliable Creative Economy Institute (or EKA as it is known locally) collaborated with their partner PM HAZE to train the community in East Tebing Tinggi District. This training was attended by representatives from the Community for Fire Awareness (MPA) from several villages including MPA Sungaitohor Village, MPA West Sungaitohor Village, Nipah Sendanu Village, Representatives of Sungaitohor village government, Representatives of East Tebingtinggi sub-district and several members of the EKA Institute who wished to take part in this "Basic Training on Using Drones for Hotspot Monitoring". This activity was carried out for two days, namely on April 20 - 21, 2024 at the Linau Kuning art studio in Sungaitohor village.
Mr. Albanik, as Chair of the EKA Institute, in his speech at the event said, "In the dry season we need to be alert, because our islands here are mostly peatlands which are easily flammable, the slightest bit of fire can spread quickly everywhere and that will certainly be a problem for our community. At the present, we monitor these through the SIPONGI (mobile) app so that we can locate where the hotspots are, specifically on our island," he explained.
Sometimes we when get this information from the app that shows the location to be very far from residential locations, there is even no road to that location, so drones are one way we can verify this information and data received. With drones we are able to determine whether it is a normal hot spot or a real fire. "On the basis of information received, people in charge at our village will be able to use drones to monitor hot spots within our neighbouring areas," said Albanik.
“Currently, the EKA Institute has two drone units for hotspot monitoring purposes. These two drones were donated by our partners PM Haze and the Rotary Club of Singapore. Drones will be very useful in helping to determine fire hotspots or for monitoring areas that are prone to combustion during the dry season. For this reason this training aims to ensure that members of the Community for Fire Awareness (MPA) have the necessary skills to use this equipment." he said in closing.

This training activity was held in two sessions, on the first day participants focused on the theoretical introduction to the equipment and basic theories of drone flight. The second day of training focused on the practical aspects of flying, documenting and inputting data into the drone. This training was conducted by 2 experienced persons, namely Mr Rio and Mr Eko who are practitioners in the field of environment and mapping using drones.
The session closed with further flight training at the location that was affected by fires in 2014 and a final review of the activity and training for all participants.
Rizwan, one of the participants who is a member of the MPA in Nipah Sendanu village, said, "This training was quite important for me, because sometimes we receive information about fire locations in the middle of the forest where there is no road access to the location, so if we have a drone and are able to operate it, it will be very helpful in verifying the early information that we receive in our village. I hope that this drone training activity can be carried out several more times so that we can operate it confidently for monitoring hot spots or confirming the location of forest and land fires." he explained.
On the first day of training, the PM Haze and Rotary teams were present at the training. They also symbolically handed over the two drone units to the EKA institution as support for assisting the community with hotspot monitoring ability so that forest and land fires can be prevented as early as possible.
In a discussion with the training participants, Mr. Suresh, as a representative of the Rotary Club of Singapore, said, "We all hope that no more forest and land fires will occur here. With this support from us (of the gift of drones), we hope that this can help prevent land fires by early detection of hotspots and monitoring of hot zones. We thank you for the enthusiasm shown by all the participants who attended and also thank you for welcoming us here," he concluded. (Syahrul)