Bushfire raises concerns over safety of villagers

Bushfire raises concerns over safety of villagers

07 June 2012

published by www.fijitimes.com

Fiji — FRESH concerns were raised yesterday about the dangers posed by indiscriminate burning.

It comes after bushfires in a region between Ba and Lautoka became so intense that it had to be attended to by the National Fire Authority and residents.

Over the past two days, Tuvu, Teidamu, Matawalu and nearby areas have been covered by a blanket of thick smoke.

Yesterday, more than 20 people living near the area joined forces to douse the fire as they were concerned with their safety.

Suben Singh, 68, of Tuvu said bush fires occurred every year in the area but this year was the biggest.

He called on the authorities concerned to address the matter and those responsible for the fire should be taken to task.

Bila settler Paulo Bete, who was accompanied by more than 10 men from the area, said people responsible for the fire should be taken to task.

Foundation for Rural Integrated Enterprises and Development (FRIEND) media manager Ranbeer Singh said the fires were a frequent occurrence in the area, especially during the dry season.

These fires are destroying all natural trees, including homes and pasture for animals as well as weakening the soil which lead to massive landslides during floods, costing the nation millions of dollars.

National Fire Authority chief executive officer John OConnor said NFA was concerned with the careless burning of rubbish by members of the community which pose a serious threat to nearby properties and lives.

He said firefighters in Lautoka attended and controlled a bushfire incident in Tuvu.

Recently there has been an increase in the grass and bushfires attended to by the NFA in the Western and Northern divisions, said Mr OConnor.

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