XFire | WWF Malaysia

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The Problem

Forests in Southeast Asia are homes to iconic wildlife such as tiger, orang-utan, tapir, clouded leopard, gibbon, hornbills, rafflesia and many more. Forests are also important for water catchment, medicinal plants and carbon sequestration. According to FAO, Southeast Asia contains almost 15% of the world’s tropical forests and important for carbon balance. Indonesia has the largest tropical peatland in the world (69.61%).
 
Forest fire and the resulting haze has become an almost annual event in some parts of Southeast Asia. The haze that covered much of Southeast Asia in 2015 was the worst in recent years.  A total of 2.6 million hectares of forest, peat and other land were burnt and the World Bank estimated the total economic costs in Indonesia alone exceed US $16 billion.
 
Unlike some temperate forests where fire is a natural and important part of its ecology, rainforest in Southeast Asia has a “fire shield” - the closed canopy, which ensure high humidity and soil moisture. The “fire shield” is lost when the forest is degraded due to logging, conversion, fires and other forms of disturbance. In a forest with open canopy, fuel and oxygen is aplenty, thus once burning starts, fire spreads easily to adjacent areas assisted by wind. Consequently, fires get out of control. When this happens, the best hope is the monsoon rain.
 
Despite effort in raising awareness and capacity building for prevention, early detection and initial attack to suppress fire, fires still get out of control especially in inaccessible terrain. In addition, there are several main constraint that hinders efficient forest fire suppression – accessibility, bulkiness of retardant, susceptibility to weather, fire barrier effectiveness and cost.



 

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The XFire Innovation Challenge is designed to seek for the most efficient and innovative method to suppress inland and peatland forest fire. I’d like to call on innovators from all over the world to participate in this and help develop technological solutions to suppress forest fires. Let’s innovate for nature! ” - Assc. Prof. Dr. Ramzah Dambul, Dep. Sec. Gen., Science, Technology & Innovation, Ministry of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change (MESTECC)

WWF-Malaysia
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46150 Petaling Jaya,
Selangor, Malaysia
Phone no: +603-7450 3773 (ext 6412)
Email: zyaakop@wwf.org.my