Increased rate of bushfires expected to continue into this dry season, says Deputy Fire Chief

Bushfire in Giraudel

As a result of a period of dry spell affecting Dominica, the Fire and Ambulance service is reporting a trend of increase in the occurrence of bushfires. Deputy Fire Chief Wayne Letang stated that in recent years there has specifically been an increase in bushfires in Canefield East, St Joseph, and Pointe Michel.

“What we have seen is because of the dry spell we are already experiencing some increase in the amount of bushfires that we are responding to,” he said. “So, I could say on a daily basis the guys are getting more involved, more occupied as it relates to bushfires and we would like to tell persons that during 2024 we are expecting a lengthy dry spell.”

He continued, “We have to be also very mindful of how we burn, what we burn, and when we burn it.”

He also encouraged persons to ensure that he/she has sufficient water available and in some cases sand or mud, “so if the fire gets out of control that you can take control of it.”

“We also want to tell people that if you are burning heaps, make small heaps rather than big heaps…,” Letang advised. “So be very mindful of that and particularly as we are moving into the dry season be very mindful of your burning practices.”

Meanwhile, he said the department reported 177 bushfires in 2023.

“We’ve had as it relates to the number of fires, we had 177 bushfires in 2023 and that’s more–by 87–over 2022, structural fires and that is one of the areas that we want to tell people to practice proper safety procedures at home,” he indicated. “So, we had 51 structural fires registered and if you have to look at 2022, we had 40.”

He added, “So, an increase by 11 may not sound great, it means that 11 more families had fires affecting their residence at that time.”

Furthermore, Letang advised the public of the importance of having a fire extinguisher and smoke detector in their homes.

“Battery operated smoke detectors, every year you simply change the battery and it keeps functioning for you,” he noted.

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1 Comment

  1. Jacqui
    February 28, 2024

    Dear Fire Chief
    Please ensure that all fire hoses are in working condition.

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