Charlestown, Nevis — “Remember that fire is a good servant but a bad master; when people get permission to burn garbage they ought to be very careful or else they can get burnt,” said David Stapleton, Fire Sub-Station Officer at the Newcastle Fire hall. In a brief interview with Sknvibes.com on the recent upsurge in bush fires on Nevis, Stapleton said since the start of the year Nevis has had a total of 16 bush fires. The total included six occurring in the Newcastle, Camps and Mount Lily area he said. Fire Officials attending to Land Fill Fire at Long Poin He noted that while bush fires are not unusual for this time of year because of the landscape, in general being very dry from February as we are currently in the dry season. Those desirous of burning garbage should seek permission from the Nevis Fire and Rescue Services. “Normally during the dry season you get a lot of bush fires. It is for this reason that we ask persons in the general public to go to the Fire Department to seek permission before they light a back yard fire,” Stapleton said. “The process is free and once you indicate your interest in burning a fire, a fire official will come and assess the area as to whether it is safe and conducive to lighting fires.” He continued, “Dry grass and leaves are not conducive to fires; the area should be clean. The proximity to residential housing – we have had instances where people have lit fires too close to their homes and so the fire officers normally go on request to look at the property to determine whether or not the situation is safe. The fire official will fill out a form granting permission and the time frame in which the fire should be burnt.”
The fire official noted that bush fires can have various detrimental effects such as devastation of lands, erosion, destruction of feed for animals and the jeopardy of local beauty. “Basically when the fire burns the grass the vegetation would dry out. Also, when the fires burn it burns out the roots and the area will become barren so when you have heavy showers it can cause erosion because the roots of the grass are not there to hold the soil,” he said.
There are other things that one has to look at when there are bush fires, the fire official said. Such as the feed for animals; the fire will destroy the grass which is the feed for the animals.
“And in terms of beautification, the high incidence of bush fires will mar the beauty of the island and that will deter tourists,” he said.
In light of these incidents, Stapleton has advised the general public to exercise caution when starting yard fires noting an incident last year where extensive acres of land were burnt in a bush fire at Indian Castle.
“We are asking the public to stop the indiscriminate burning of bush and the indiscriminate lighting of fire. If you want to burn a fire on your land you have to seek permission from the Fire and Rescue Services. Permission can be granted from either branch at Newcastle or Charlestown&
Last year a couple acres of land were burnt in a bush fire at Indian Castle. Sometimes you light a fire and it gets away from you and by the time we get there no one is there and the origin of the fire remains unknown. Remember that fire is a good servant but a bad master; when people get permission to burn garbage they ought to be very careful or else they can get burnt,” Stapleton said in closing.