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Increased fire incidents in Surabaya’s open land raise concerns about Impending El Niño effects

Surabaya authorities are on high alert as open land fires surge due to the impending El Niño. Patrols increase to counteract fire risks.

So far in 2023, 244 fires have occurred. Residents are urged to avoid open burning.



El Nino

INDONESIA: The Surabaya City Fire and Rescue Service (DPKP) has raised alarm bells over the surge in fires across open fields, attributed to the impending El Niño phenomenon.

Dedik Irianto, the Head of Surabaya City DPKP, has directed his team to intensify patrols in open spaces, particularly in areas prone to recurring fires.

This proactive measure aims to mitigate the anticipated impact of the El Niño phenomenon on the East Java region, as forewarned by the Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency (BMKG).

“Patrol teams are actively monitoring open land prone to fires. They remain vigilant, conducting regular checks and surveillance of vulnerable areas,” said Dedik Irianto in a statement issued on Monday (21 Aug).

According to data compiled by Surabaya City DPKP, there have been a total of 244 fire incidents categorized under non-building fires or those occurring in open land settings, from January to August 13, 2023.

The breakdown includes 106 instances of reed fires, 65 cases of trash fires, and 73 other incidents.

In tandem with patrols, DPKP has embarked on an outreach campaign targeting local residents.

The public is being advised against haphazardly burning waste materials in open areas, particularly due to the risk of spreading flames in windy conditions.

“There’s a ban in place for a reason. Given the prevailing winds and dry conditions, burning waste in open land could escalate and jeopardize nearby structures,” Dedik Irianto explained.

Dedik urges residents to responsibly dispose of their waste at designated Garbage Disposal Sites (TPS) sanctioned by the Surabaya City Government.

The collected waste from these sites will subsequently be managed by Environmental Service (DLH) personnel.

Beyond forestalling open land fires, DPKP Surabaya is also emphasizing caution during cooking activities.

Dedik underscores that a few fire incidents have been linked to cooking mishaps, according to the records.

In a bid to foster awareness, DPKP is actively conducting training and educational campaigns within local communities.  These initiatives seek to enlighten residents about the origins of fires and preventive measures.

During these educational sessions, DPKP is also illustrating the phases of fire development to the public.  Notably, the critical period lies within the first four minutes from the fire’s inception.

Residents are advised to remain composed and initiate basic fire control measures before seeking assistance through the Command Center at 112.

“Our team’s response time is within seven minutes, despite the pivotal phase being the first four minutes. If residents can undertake initial suppression using rudimentary tools like wet towels, we’re committed to providing guidance,” Dedik concluded.

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