New gears to fight forest fires


New gears to fight forest fires

08 February 2017

published by http://www.7newsbelize.com


BELIZE – — Today the Ministry of Environment, through the Key Biodiversity Areas Project, donated essential fire-safety gear and equipment to key forest management partners. The equipment will be distributed to agencies throughout the country, and will help to prevent fires in what is anticipated to be a particularly challenging year. Minister of State, Omar Figueroa discussed the importance of these donations…

Dr. Omar Figueroa – Minister of State, Ministry of Environment
“You know it focuses on the key diversity areas. Belize has a lot of unique areas and we need to continually investing in these areas and we need to understand the challenges that these guys face out on the ground. Fire is an extremely important challenge but managed properly it can also enhance the biodiversity out there. The folks from these 5 organisations are very capable, they have been trained in firefighting but often times they lack the equipment. So we’re hoping to give them little more tools that they can use out in fighting these fires out in the Belizean landscape.”

Reporter

“Minister a lot of the times, sometimes a common man or woman don’t the importance of fighting forest fires. They say you know what it’s just bush, make it burn but you know environmentalist; forestry experts know the importance of these resources to the country. Perhaps just explain to us the significance of that and in terms of loses we’ve seen in the recent years.”

Dr. Omar Figueroa

“I think we can look at it in two ways, we have some systems up out there that are fire dependent, that need fire in order to stay that way, the pine savannah are one sub system, it needs to burn regularly and so it can handle fire; pine trees need fire to spread and to reproduce. We have some other systems like the secondary forest and carse landscape that are fire independent, if fire hits these systems it destroys them and it takes forever to regenerate. So if we have a fire going into the broaden forest we end up losing all the value that’s in there, so if we don’t manage fires properly we end up losing a lot, millions and millions of dollars.”

Reporter

“You mentioned earlier about the passage of the hurricane and what that has left behind and pose a threat, an opportunity for some of these fires.”

Dr. Omar Figueroa
“What happens after a hurricane hits Belize is you have a lot of the forest out there destroyed, so when you have the broad leaf forest, the trees broken down and fall to the ground, after a while the tree rots and it increases the fuel load out there and all it needs is a little spark to just get out of control and that’s what the folks, our partners on the ground are concerned about. When you fire starts this dry season, it can be potentially worse than it was before this fuel load was out there.”

 


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