Cayo District Reports Wildfires Amid Unusual Dry Season and Extreme Heat

Cayo District Reports Wildfires Amid Unusual Dry Season and Extreme Heat

Wildfires have also been reported in portions of the Cayo District.  The destruction, however, has been minimal compared to the situation in the south.  Love News understands that the fires out west are primarily due to spontaneous combustion, often brought about in the dry season and under high temperatures.  Confirming this theory is former Chief MET Officer, Ramon Frutos who indicated to our Cayo Correspondent, Elaine Berry, that this year’s dry season has been unusual. He noted that the extreme heat, with temperatures frequently exceeding 100 degrees Fahrenheit could very well be a contributing factor to the forest fires in both the west and south, resulting in thick ash and haze in the atmosphere. 

Ramon Frutos, Former Chief Met Officer: “This is the dry season but the dry season has been quite unusual this year because it has been very warm, very hot, and very dry. And this year, as we note, we have broken quite a number of records when it comes to daytime maximum temperatures. It has been for some couple of days over the past few weeks, temperatures have been above 100 degrees Celsius here in the western part of the country and also in other parts of the country. And it’s unusual in the sense that for a long time we haven’t experienced temperatures above 100 degrees Celsius on a daily basis. And so we can say then that this dry season has been very intense and it will continue this way. The dry season usually ends for the country of Belize, it usually ends at the end of May from the 15th of May on to the first or second week of June we begin to see the showers begin, the onset of the rainy season. But this year, probably that will be delayed because of the intense dry season that is affecting us. And we are, I would say, experiencing a drought year. A drought year means that it will be unusually dry probably right through the first half of the rainy season this year. So we just got to keep our eyes open and see if a system will develop in the Caribbean that could generate the beginning or could cause the onset of the rainy season this year. But so far, as we look at the satellite pictures and look at the weather maps today, we are not seeing any tropical disturbances in the Caribbean that could cause the onset or the beginning of the rainy season this year. So at least for the next seven days don’t expect the rainy season to begin. Well because of the intense heat the vegetation in the forest are dry and so you have quite a lot of fuel for forest fire and forest fires can be started by natural causes or by human beings by people, right? We are experiencing quite a lot of bushfires. And that then is a cause of the ash and the haze that we see covering the atmosphere or in the atmosphere these days and apart from that there is a movement or a transportation of Saharan dust moving across the Atlantic Ocean into the Caribbean and that is adding to the haziness that we are seeing in the atmosphere these days, here in Cayo and other places in Belize.”

Ramon Frutos was a Meteorologist for close to 35 years before he retired in 2009.

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