Just two weeks into the month of April, and according to the Dominica Fire and Ambulance Service, approximately thirty-two (32) bushfires have been reported on the island
Acting Deputy Chief Fire Officer, Wayne Letang, told Dominica News Online (DNO) during an interview that usually around this time, there is a rising demand for the Fire and Ambulance service in response to bushfires as this month is the beginning of dry season worldwide.
“The temperature, the conditions is a rise for bushfires, but we are asking persons to be very vigilant. The present condition means that we are stretched already and the bushfire brings an additional responsibility that we are responding to every day,” Letang said.
Letang said that as Dominica now faces the effects of COVID-19, this poses an even bigger strain on the department as the resources that would be used in fighting the virus, are being used to cater to multiple fires.
He noted that twenty (24) of those bushfires were reported within the vicinity Roseau. The other reports came from communities such as Portsmouth, Grandbay, and Melville Hall.
Letang called on the general public to be vigilant and stop the useless burning, adding that most of the bush fires come from negligence.
He said the majority of the fires are caused by people who set fires while cleaning outside and in particular, those who set fire to agricultural land.
“Whenever you are doing ‘slash and burn’, particularly during that time to clear land for agriculture, we are asking persons to don’t just cut a piece of land and catch their light, instead you burn in small heaps and that will prevent a lot of fire from spreading,” Letang advised.
He said the fire department would prefer that nobody burns anything but asked that people limit these practices.
“All burning should be monitored and if you don’t have water available, make sure that there is a barrier between what you are burning and other vegetation,” Letang cautioned.