Help Combat Forest Fires Across the Tropics: From the Amazon to Asia

Saturday August 23 2019

The impacts of climate change, deforestation and thoughtless consumption of natural resources are on full display this week with fires raging across the Amazon and Indonesia.

2019 has been a record breaking fire season across the tropics, with 72,843 rainforest fires reported in Brazil alone. Recently, the government of Indonesia declared a state of emergency due to poor air quality from fires on the islands of Sumatra and Borneo. Deforestation in these regions destroys environments, drives animals from their homes, negatively impacts human health and adds carbon to our atmosphere which only hastens the effects of climate change.

This is a crisis of our own making - human disturbance - and it stands to worsen unless drastic action is taken immediately. Now a yearly occurrence, these fires continue to devastate the tropics and their strength and frequency are only increasing. In 2015 the small Bornean city of Palangka Raya was named the most polluted city in the world because regional fires caused more carbon emissions than all of Europe combined. Each year thousands of Indonesians are forced to flee the peat smoke, while others including our colleagues at the Borneo Nature Foundation and the Center for International Cooperation in Sustainable Management of Tropical Peatland (CIMTROP) stay to fight.

There's no time to waste. We have the power to correct these mistakes and save our world's beautiful and special places. If those who care turn thought into action, we can enact positive change.

Here are some simple ways you can help today. Included are organizations we work with directly in the field. For more information or questions feel free to email us at

  • Give to Amazon Frontlines and assist those on the front lines of the Amazon fires.
  • Ensure the voices of Amazonia's indigenous populations are heard with Amazon Watch.
  • Support scientists and firefighters on the ground with the Borneo Nature Foundation and CIMTROP by donating to their emergency fire fund.
  • Help animals impacted by the effects of fires and deforestation with a donation to International Animal Rescue and Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation (BOSF).
  • Ensure these issues are shared with the world by supporting environmentally focused film projects like The Great Call and companies like One Health Productions.
  • Provide support for indigenous communities across Borneo with The Borneo Project.
  • Promote sustainable development projects led by indigenous women in the Amazon with HAKHU Amazon Design.
  • March for your rights like the indigenous women of the Amazon.
  • Sign a petition telling the Brazilian government to save the Amazon Rainforest and protect the lands of Indigenous communities.
  • Follow and join the mailing lists of these organizations to stay up to date on news and events.
  • Spread awareness by sharing with your friends and colleagues on social media and in person - global pressure is working!
  • Consume less, including meat.
A man watches helplessly as forests burn on the Indonesian island of Sumatra

Getty Images

Peat fire engulfing large area near LAHG Sebangau, August 17, 2019. [Markurius Sera, Borneo Nature Foundation]

LAHG Sebangau patrol unit member, Krisyoyo, quenching the peat fire underneath. [Suzanne Turnock, Borneo Nature Foundation]

Community-based firefighting team, supported by local police and soldiers, fighting peat fire closing in on Palangka Raya residential area. [Community Firefighters, Borneo Nature Foundation]

This used to be lush, green forest. A freshly scorched landscape is seen in Riau province, Indonesia

Getty Images
A military helicopter carries water during a fire-monitoring mission over South Sumatra [Reuters]

What will become of the forest fire situation in Indonesia? [Getty Images]
Amazon Frontlines
Center for Global Discovery and Conservation Science
Fire map across Brazil [Global Forest Watch]

Borneo is burning again!
The Borneo Foundation
Published on 23 Aug 2019

Peat fires have once again returned to Borneo and haze is engulfing the region. The Indonesian government has declared a state of emergency for the province of Central Kalimantan and urgent help is needed to support the people on the frontline battling these quick-spreading fires. With drought conditions well underway fires are now spreading into primary rainforest and causing huge damage to the environment and wildlife. Borneo Nature Foundation (BNF) is tackling these issues head-on. Masyarakat Peduli Api (MPA), established and supported by BNF, are working tirelessly to extinguish the flames and prevent the spread of more fires. The brave men and women of the MPA are from villages bordering the Sebangau National Park, Central Kalimantan. These teams are truly on the frontline fighting to protect people, save the forest and stop the peat fires that are a major driver of global climate change. BNF also supports the CIMTROP TSA fire-fighting team which has been active through five major fire events over the past 18 years; and are connecting all of these community teams through the Indonesian Disaster Agency. All these dedicated firefighters need your support. They need fuel, food and daily income for their families, so they are always ready to extinguish any fire that arises, and they need the latest technology, best equipment and proper safety gear so they can quickly locate, map and tackle the fires. Please help us support these committed men and women on the frontline so they can stay mobilized for as long as it takes to stop the fires by donating to the Emergency Forest Fire Fund.

You may remember the peat fires in 2015. Massive fires swept through the region, driven by an extended drought caused by global climate conditions and human activities. These fires destroyed over 2.2 million hectares of forest, including the habitat of over 3,000 orangutans, and released huge amounts of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere and choking gasses implicated in the deaths of over 100,000 people. Let's not let this happen again!
Ibu Pertiwi Kalimantan
Premiered on 27 Aug 2019

Gunakan headphone mu dan biarkan lagu nasional Indonesia mengiringi mu diantara kebakaran lahan gambut Kalimantan. Berdasarkan lirik "Ibu Pertiwi" karya Ismail Marzuki (1950-an) dan melodi "What a Friend we have in Jesus" ciptaan Charles C. Converse (1868), terinspirasi dari rasa cinta terhadap tanah air dan asap tahunan yang selalu muncul, seniman Dayak Dede Syaer Sua dan William Fernaldo Dika menyanyikan lagu ini dengan sentuhan khas dayak. Video ini adalah ungkapan cinta kami untuk Kalimantan, untuk musik dan seni serta terutama untuk bumi tempat kita tinggal. Semoga ini menggerakkan hatimu, sebagaimana hati kami pun tergerak. Semoga kita bisa berubah, bersama-sama


Put on your headphones. Let a beloved Indonesian hymn transport you through the dramatic backdrop of Kalimantan in the haze of its peat fires. Based on the lyrics of Ibu Pertiwi by Ismail Marzuki (1950s) and the melody of "What a Friend we have in Jesus" by Charles C. Converse (1868), Dayak artists Dede Syaer Sua and William Fernaldo Dika elevate this traditional song inspired by their motherland and the annual smoke season. This music video is our expression of love for Kalimantan, music, art, and the natural world we live in. May it move you in the way it has moved us. May we somehow change, together. A film by PT Borneo Productions International
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