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Inferno Rages an Attack in Forest of the Mountain Pine Ridge Area

Over the weekend, a large area of Baldy Beacon in the Mountain Pine Ridge was on fire. Friends for Conservation and Development (FCD) reported that the damage inflicted occurred primarily in private/public lands and not in the forest reserve. Officers of the Forest Department were pivotal in containing the fire with their expertise and equipment. Private landowners and FCD were also active in controlling the fire. FCD is recommending a full investigation into the matter because it appears that negligence was the main factor that led to the dramatic loss of the sensitive ecosystem in those high elevated areas. It is unknown at this time how much was lost but certainly is on the hundreds of acres. According to the Executive Director of the FCD, wildfires around this time of the year are not uncommon in Belize’s forest, however, it is better to prevent them rather than to try to control them when they have gotten out of control.

Rafael Manzanero, Executive Director, FCD: “Indeed as the dry weather comes in forest fires are becoming a concern more to us even in the Chiquibul and in the Vaca area. And so what we have been basically conducting are a full slate of activities including public outreach to reach out to the communities, farmers in the Arenal, Benque Viejo,  Succotz area and also to train them on how to combat forest fires. While the challenges are really how to reach these remote areas and so and that’s why prevention is better than really trying to stop it once it starts and so the area is really highly rugged terrain that is inaccessible so in particularly in the Chiquibul zone if a fire really starts over there how to control it is really a problem and either it will have to be stopped either by the rains that will drop over the forest eventually or considering of moving planes that can really drop water on the forest which is really extremely expensive and we don’t have the technology here in Belize to do that. That effects of course wildlife on the ground because the scarcity of the water, the ponds, the pools will tend to dry in fact even for us we are out in the field right now conservation posts where we have the military BDF and Rangers we barely have any water right now at those conservation posts.” 

The FCD is recommending a full investigation into the matter because it appears that negligence was the main factor leading to the loss of the sensitive ecosystem in those high elevated areas. The FCD also says that it is unknown at this time how much was lost but certainly is on the hundreds of acres.