313 forest and agricultural fires in 2017

313 forest and agricultural fires in 2017
14 January 2018
Published by https://www.elnuevodiario.com.ni/


English version of the news. Note: the news has been translated by Google translator. Original version in the link provided.

NICARAGUA – When an agricultural or forest fire occurs, no matter how small it is, it generates a direct impact on nature, according to specialists consulted. In the first semester of 2017, which is when the dry season occurs, there were 313 fires of both types, according to data from the Command Post of the Unified Firefighters of Nicaragua.

Abdel Garcia, risk management officer of the Humboldt Center, indicates that these affected approximately 2,467 manzanas of land, directly impacting on the habitat of the species but also on the minerals found in the soil where the burning occurs.

“The fire has the capacity to disappear all the biotic and abiotic elements of the ecosystem where it occurs, that is, there is loss of total biodiversity, all the insects in the ground die, all the life of the trees and all the life that there is around of the ecosystem somehow disappears, “says García.

But the effects on the ecosystem are not the only impacts that generate a forest fire, they also modify the volume of biomass, alter the hydrological cycle and the smoke that it produces affects the health of nearby populations.

“When you strike fire you are finishing even with all those organisms that make up the organic matter of the soil, the loss is practically total in the area,” says García.

According to Lieutenant Olmo José Noguera, head of operations of the Benemérito Fire Department, when a forest fire occurs, “a direct impact on nature is generated, there is an impact to the subsoil and everything concerning the ecosystem where it is developed, then basically however small it is, it is classified as a forest fire “.

The Fires in figures
Lieutenant Noguera mentions that only the Benemérito Fire Department attended a total of 108 forest fires last year, although he excused himself from providing data on affected areas because those figures are handled exclusively by the Ministry of Natural Resources (Marena).

What Noguera did share was that the incidents they attended had a slight reduction compared to the services they provided in 2016. “Last year we treated about eight fires less than in 2016,” he said.

The official statistics contained in the section related to the actions of the Marena, which are in the report of the Medium Term Budgetary Framework (2017-2020), hosted on the website of the Ministry of Finance, indicate that the forest fires in the country have has been reduced significantly since 2007.

The document details that in 2015 there were a total of 228 agricultural and forest fires, in 2014 there were 339 and in 2016 the number of claims decreased to 185.

In 2015, the total area affected by forest fires amounted to 3,714 hectares and represented a reduction of 40% compared to 2014, when a total of 9,281.0 hectares were affected.

“This trend of reduction of events has remained in 2016 given that at the national level there were 185 fires between forestry and agriculture, affecting an area of 10,696.2 hectares, however it has an increase in the affected area of 52.2% compared to 2015”, notes the report.

In the first five days of 2018 there have been 70 home fires, forest fires and vacant lots, that is, 14 daily losses.

Areas historically affected
Both Noguera and García explain that historically the western areas and in Las Segovias are the ones that register the highest number of such incidents, however it is also quite common to find some emergencies of this nature in areas near Managua and other cities in the region. country.

“This year we have already four forest fires attended. One occurred in a vacant lot near the vicinity of Police station VI, and were endangering both the station and a warehouse, the companions of Tipitapa have attended two large fires involving the burning of weeds, there they were working more than five hours “Said Noguera.

What are the causes of forest fires? Both mentions that in the dry season of the year the temperature usually plays a determining role because they can create conditions for the fires: the undergrowth is dry so that if a burning occurs in the forest, an easy propagation is generated thanks to the speed of the wind increases, there is also absence of rainfall, but perhaps the most important is that there are those who cause the sinister by the desire to hunt.

“The fires are a recurring threat, you can say a natural or anthropic partner threat first because of the effects on ecosystems, but also because they are very frequent and reoffending in the territories and human beings have a lot to do with that threat in the months of the dry season, “argued Abdel García.

In his analysis, the environmentalist mentions that although statistics indicate that in recent years forest fires have maintained a tendency to decrease, the necessary efforts are still not being made to really make forest and agricultural fires stop impacting the loss of forest fires. the forest area of ​​the country.

“It is important to know the behavior of natural phenomena (earthquakes, tropical depressions, volcanic activity, cold front), as well as to know information by territory of which areas are affected and that the contingent plans that the authorities intend to develop include these elements,” he exhorted. Garcia

On the other hand Noguera indicates that there are some actions that the inhabitants can begin to implement to promote the culture of forest fire prevention.

“People who hunt lizards or any small animal should not set fire. To the people who drive not to throw the cigar goats to the mountain, not to break glass bottles, because when the sun penetrates the glass it can form an effect like a magnifying glass and cause fire, these are the preventive factors that we can do ” , recommended Noguera.

How do you fight a forest fire?
According to Lieutenant Olmo José Noguera, head of operations of the Benemérito Fire Department, there is a protocol that establishes the safe way in which firefighters must face a forest fire.

“If we can not stop it with a direct attack with water, we resort to the construction of defense lines,” says Noguera.

According to the firefighter’s explanation, the line of defense, also called rounds of isolation, consists of clearing the land where the accident is occurring, and opening trenches with a width of 4 meters, and that the ground is left without any vegetation or root that can keep spreading the fire.

Noguera adds that when there is a vacant lot, the prevention of forest fires should include the regular pruning of weeds and trees. In areas like these, the “line of defense must be at least the perimeter wall four meters to more, from the side where the property is and another four meters inside the building, we speak then of eight meters in total,” he explains.

He adds that if the isolation round is built in the outside area of ​​the vacant lot, this can be greater than four meters better, because this prevents the fire from spreading to neighboring houses.

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