I am a forest campaigner for Greenpeace. I’ve just returned to Christchurch from Indonesia and have bad news to report: Fires are raging through the Indonesian rainforest and peatlands again this year. Every year, these fires grow more intense, tearing through trees and killing all in their path - orangutans, tigers, elephants and lush rainforest.

A team of Greenpeace forest campaigners are on the ground in Indonesia right now. They’re working to document and expose the fires, as well as the deforestation and peatland drainage that make the situation so much worse.

Amazing wildlife like orangutans, elephants and tigers are at huge risk as the forests they call home continue to burn. Our team has heard of rescue centres overflowing with injured, homeless and orphaned orangutans – some badly burned.


With national parks and protected areas ablaze, orangutans lose their last refuge - where else can they go? Choking in the haze, many orangutans face death by fire and smoke.

The fires are a man-made crisis driven by decades of forest destruction by palm oil and paper companies. Damaged forest is dry, and drained peatland highly flammable (a carbon tinderbox that burns even underground). Fire is the easiest way to clear land so, despite the risks; fires are sometimes deliberately lit to make way for palm oil plantations.


Every year during the hot, dry season, massive fires rage until the rains come and put them out. This year, with El Nino delaying the rainy season and causing droughts, the scale of the fires and toxic haze is the worst it has ever been.

The work that Greenpeace does in the forest isn’t just about crisis response. It’s about finding long-term solutions to this problem. We cannot allow the Indonesian government and palm oil and paper companies to continue to let this happen. We need to put pressure on companies and the government to end deforestation and peatland development and to instead protect the forest and peatlands. We can push for practical solutions, such as re-flooding and implementing other water management measures in critical peatland areas, which can sharply reduce fire risks.

Until forests and peatlands are protected, Indonesia will suffer a fire crisis every year. The forests and endangered wildlife like orangutans and tigers will become more and more threatened.

Please donate towards our work in Indonesia.