Dominican Republic braces for forest fire season

Dominican Republic braces for forest fire season

23 February 2009

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Dominican Republic — Environment minister Jaime David Fernandez Mirabal today said March is the month with the most forest fires in the last 10 years, an average of more than 30, for which they began a campaign to teach people to protect the country’s natural resources.

Fernandez Mirabal said wild fires affected more 1.5 million tareas of forests in the last six years, a part of those in protected areas.

In that regard, Environment prosecutor Andres Chalas said people take advantage of the climate during Lent, a dry period which makes it easy to spark a fire.

He said some fires are accidental, or intentionally set to steal lands afterwards, for which the arsonists face up to 10 years in prison and fines up to 10,000 pesos.

The Central, Bahoruco and Neiba mountain ranges, the national parks J. Armando Bermúdez, Jose del Carmen Ramirez and the scientific reserve Juan Bautista Perez Rancier (Valle Nuevo), San José de las  Matas, Monción and Restauración are the zones most prone to forest fires.

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