September 27, 2016

Fire Service battling over 60 bush fires per week

El Niño conditions

The prevailing dry weather conditions attributed to the El Niño crisis has parched much of the soil and grass in vast locations across the country.

Fire Chief Marlon Gentle

Fire Chief Marlon Gentle

Chief Fire Officer Marlon Gentle in an interview with this publication on Monday said the Guyana Fire Service has been battling between 60 and 70 bush fires per week. Gentle noted that most of fires stemmed from land clearing and he is calling for a halt to “indiscriminate” burning.
“People got to stop lighting these fires indiscriminately; most of them are people using the fire to clear lands. Much of this is happening in new housing areas or housing areas where they got a lot of cattle grazing lands, they using the fires to burn out the dry bushes,” the Fire Chief explained.
He further observed that the Fire Service has undertaken numerous awareness programmes to curb these activities but surmised the occurrences as “traditional”.
“We weary doing programmes, this is a traditional thing… [It’s occurring in] Regions Two, Three, Four, Five, Six—everywhere,” noted the Fire Chief.
“People have to be aware that when they are lighting these fires, there’s a cost to it… most times it going into people’s premises or sometimes [it] threatens infrastructure like bridges, culverts, land poles,” emphasised Gentle.
“Ninety per cent of the fires we engage are brush fires,” he pointed out.
He noted that the recent incident at Coverden, East Bank Demerara on Thursday stemmed from organic soil being ignited but observed that not all of the occurrences are of a “natural” origin.
On Sunday evening, fire ranks from Georgetown and Leonora were able to extinguish a brush fire at Versailles, West Bank Demerara which threatened the nearby Aracari Hotel & Resort.

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