Local community perceptions about fire

After severe forest and land fires in Indonesia in 2015, law enforcement on the use of fire become stricter. We surveyed the households of Dompas village and five other satellite villages on their perceptions about fire. This analysis specifically focused on Dompas village. We classified the respondents into two groups: Group 1 consists of those who directly participated in PAR CBFPR’s Action Arenas 1 to 6; and Group 2 comprises the remaining households of Dompas.

Our survey showed that supervised and controlled burning was considered the first rank among other methods to control the spread and risk of fire on peatland; this was followed by avoiding the use of fire, and using well-equipped firefighting tools, canal blocking, ponds, and other methods. Avoiding the use of fire has become a widely practiced and adopted behavior since the massive forest and land fires. To further understand this issue, we surveyed the perceptions about fire and the use of fire (Figure 1 A and 1 B). A large number of respondents in Group 1 and Group 2 stated that the use of fire for activities related to farming caused many problems. They also agreed that they felt guilty if they used fire for land clearing and thought that the practice must be stopped at all cost. They no longer see fire-related practices to be important for their livelihood.

Figure 1 A. Perceptions of Group 1 on fire and the use of fire.

Figure 1 B. Perceptions of Group 2 on fire and the use of fire.