Bahamas — A massive 400-acre bush fire in the Berry Islands that has burned over the past few days was threatening nearby homes yesterday, prompting a team from New Providence to fly to the area.
According to Fire Chief Superintendent Walter Evans, the blaze started three days ago in Great Harbour Cay and was being monitored by fire officials in New Providence while volunteers from the community attempted to extinguish it.
This is a huge blaze we are battling, more than 400 acres. Initially when we received reports we were just monitoring it, but it has now spread too much and a number of homes are in its path, Supt Evans, who led a team from the capital to the area yesterday, said.
Residents were using what they could to assist and a small fire brigade with a small fire truck were trying to put out the fire. But it just became too much.
Mr Evans said he has no idea when the fire will be extinguished but he said firefighters are doing everything to ensure homes are not destroyed and the fire is contained.
Along with police, a small volunteer brigade of about 15 people with one fire truck was trying to combat the blaze, as it crept dangerously close to nearby homes.
Supt Evans said bush fires are becoming a problem in some Family Islands.
The most recent blaze comes days after a fire destroyed the Straw Market in George Town, Exuma. The settlement had no fire truck on hand to combat the fire, which completely destroyed the structure on Wednesday. Residents had to wait for an emergency response team from the airport to provide assistance.
Last week, a group of volunteer firefighters successfully combatted two separate wildfires in Abaco.
Local reports from residents indicate that a week ago Saturday, a wildfire was sighted near the small, 70-home community of Sweeting Village. Due to the close proximity of the flames to nearby homes, all of the islands fire response units were mobilised immediately.
Subsequently, first responders identified another blaze in areas between Spring City and Marsh Harbour. Resources and manpower had to be divided to combat both blazes.
The 20-man group, most of whom were enlisted earlier last week, were able to restrict the spread of both fires.
According to sources, the Marsh Harbour Airport was affected partially by the smoke emanating from the second fire, but it did not stop flight services.
The island of Abaco to date has no government-funded resources to fight fires. All three fire trucks on the island were purchased through fundraisers and charitable donations.