Guam / USA– It took fire officials more than an hour to bring under control two grass fires in Merizo yesterday.
At 11:25 a.m. yesterday, firefighters were dispatched to two grass fires in the Pigua Subdivision in Merizo . It took two units from the Inarajan and Umatac fire stations close to an hour to put out the fires, according to Capt. Andy Arceo, spokesman for the Guam Fire Department.
No injuries or damage to structures were reported. It’s still unknown what caused the fires, Arceo said.
He said an investigation into possible acts of arson will depend on what leads the officer in charge of the scene has.
“We will act on the lead of the officer in charge of the scene,” Arceo said. “If they feel it’s intentionally set, then we will send our units out.”
Poachers have been at the root of grass fires on Guam in the past, according to Pacific Sunday News files.
According to the Guam Department of Agriculture, Division of Forestry in 2003, at that time, about 500 wildland fires were reported on island every year, affecting as much as 4,000 acres of land.
Of the 500 cases, more than 300 fires were the result of arson by poachers; others were fires accidentally caused by farmers or people burning garbage. At a cost of $1,200 per acre, the more than 300 arson fires represent nearly $4 million in damage, according to Pacific Sunday News files.
Merizo resident Michael Bailey said he suspects the fire that was at the top of the hill near the mayor’s office was an act of arson.
“I cannot buy that deer hunter stuff anymore. Real hunters don’t need to burn down stuff to get a kill,” Bailey said. “These fires don’t start by themselves and it just rained.”
Bailey said these kinds of fires are bad for the environment because they lead to erosion and poor air quality.