Forest Department Advises Farmers to Take Precautions When Setting Fires to Control Bushfires.
The National Fire Service as well as residents across the country have been grappling with bush fires, particularly in the rural areas. The dry season coupled with the warm conditions have caused wildfires due to the vegetation becoming dry and flammable. It is highly unadvisable for anyone to be setting fires during this time of year, but according to the Forest Department, if the burning is absolutely necessary then there are some precautions and advice that should be taken from the Department of the Environment. Farmers are to consult with the Ministry of Agriculture and Forest Department before setting agricultural fires and implement fire safety measures. Install fire lines that are at least six feet wide around milpas or agricultural fields and pastures before burning. Keep sufficient water and manpower to control permitted burns and to contain any fires that escape. Inform your local fire station of any planned burning to have them on standby. Use a seven-day weather forecast with emphasis on wind speed and direction when planning to burn. Do NOT burn during the hottest part of the day. Do NOT leave fires unattended as these can easily become wildfires. Dispose of cigarette butts and glass bottles in adequate places. Disposing them in open grass can ignite fires. Ensure that fires, including campfires, are completely extinguished before leaving the area. Take extra care not to intentionally cause a fire. Do NOT set fires to garbage disposal sites. Landowners are asked to be vigilant of trespassers and to keep their properties safe from wildfires by keeping the boundary of their property clean. We call on all Belizeans to use fire wisely. We must all work together to protect the forests to ensure the protection of the environment and human health. For uncontrolled fires, you are advised to call the Fire Department at Emergency Number 990.