Fires in Cuba

Fires inCuba

12 May 2006

The fires that raged in a pine forest near  San Juan y Martínez and Guane in the western province of Pinar del Río for more than 5 days, are under control since Wednesday and in the phase of extinction. It is estimated that the fires affected an area of about 1400 ha of forested land, predominantly plantations of Pinus tropicalis and Pinus caribaea. These species have a high level of inflammability. For that reason and also for the rising population, forest fire risks have been increasing the past decade in Cuba, where the main cause for fires is human activity (88 %).

The fires started last Friday in ‘El Caguazal’, a forested zone with difficult access located in the community of San Juan y Martínez. From there, the fires propagated quickly to the forest zones of the neighbouring communities Guane and Minas de Matahambre, favoured by high temperatures and a longlasting drought.

Latest satellite images of the fires burning in western Cuba:

The following satellite images, captured by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite, show the developing fires from 8 May to 12 May 2006.

8 – 12 May  2006

8 May  2006 10 May  2006 12 May  2006

The fires, outlined in red, were burning in a hard-to-reachmountainous area. The burning wood generated a thick plume of brown and whitesmoke, which was blowing northwest when MODIS passed over on 8 May 2006, andweakened gradually with the progress of fire extinction until 12 May 2006.

Some selected news reports from the media:

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