Trinidad/Tobago — The National Security Ministry yesterday reported having to deal with over 2,000 bush fires in the past three months and it is appealing to citizens to exercise caution in dealing with all outdoor fires. Almost half of the countrys total reported bush fires have been from south Trinidad.
Only on Tuesday, raging bush fires destroyed six houses in Siparia and razed acres of forests and agricultural land.
The warehouse of a soft drink factory was also gutted by fire.
In a release yesterday, the ministry noted that 1,121 calls were made in the southern division, 604 in the northern, 398 in central and 348 in Tobago.
Every day, smoke and fire can be seen on the countrys hillside endangering those who occupy them. One area battling with these fires is Mount St Benedict in St Augustine where for several days, fires have raged out of control.
Abbot John Pereira said they have contacted the fire services but the fire is not close enough to do anything. We are closely monitoring it, it is stable at the moment as there is a lot of smoke but as the heat continues and the winds blow, it can stir up again, he said. The ministry release indicated that because of the countrys present water shortage, citizens are advised to limit the burning of large heaps of dried leaves, grass and trash.
Unsupervised and uncontainable burning can result in degradation of forested areas, which can lead to mass flooding when the rainy season arrives, the release warned.
The ministry reminded that citizens should obtain a Fire Permit before proceeding with such activities as this is in accordance with the Agricultural Fires Act, Chapter 63.02 of the Laws of TT.
They advised the public to not slash and burn and always burn in small heaps, have water available at all times in case the fire gets out of control, cut traces in the ground around the fire site to minimise fire spread where necessary and do not discard refuse in forested areas.
Meanwhile Chief meteorologist Shakeer Baig revealed that rainfall at Piarco between Tuesday night and early yesterday morning measured at 4.3 mm and described it as a welcoming change.
It is a good sign. It means that there are favourable atmospheric conditions for the development of rain producing clouds, he said.