Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve Wildfires Threaten Flora and Fauna

Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve Wildfires Threaten Flora and Fauna

  • Fire
  • May 20, 2024
  • No Comment
  • 1012

The destructive wildfires have also been damaging protected areas in the west. Last week, a wildfire broke out in the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve, and over the weekend, it has intensified. The flames spread and destroyed one of the Belize Defence Force’s conservation posts in the reserve. To compound the problem, the fires have also sent plumes of smoke into the air, affecting air quality in San Ignacio Santa Elena Town and surrounding communities. The Minister of Sustainable Development and Area Representative for Cayo Northeast, Orlando Habet, spoke on the threat the flames are posing to the flora and fauna in the area and the measures being taken to tackle them. 

Orlando Habet, Minister of Sustainable Development: “And it has escalated in the last two days burning a lot of the pine forest but luckily we have the collaboration and participation and participation from various entities. So we have the Forest Department, we have BECOL staff, we have the lumber company that’s also up there helping us and we also have CISCO who is the contractor doing the road to Caracol so they have all come together to assist. Bulridge which is the concession company that also has a lot of resources out there, bulldozers, graders trying to open up fire lines so that it can contain the fire in one area and it doesn’t jump across. Unfortunately there is limited personnel. They have to take a rest after a full twenty four hour day night fighting fire so we have to do rotations and yesterday was a better day because the temperature was about thirteen degrees cooler than Saturday and so a lot more work could have been done on the ground. But last night the information I received is that it has picked up and its is spreading in another areas so all the teams are working all day today trying to contain the fire. How it started indication is that it started in an area that is not inhabited so it is within the forest so the suspicion right now is that it started with lightning and so that started the fire but there is a lot of fuel on the ground in terms of rotten wood and leaves and dry debris because of the excessive heat and os it was easy for kindle to start the fire.”

Mayor of the twin towns, Earl Trapp Jr., also spoke to our newsroom about the issues the wildfires are causing to residents in the municipality. According to him, while the situation is improving, there is a need for residents to work together to lessen the occurrences of fires, particularly sparked by farmers clearing land.  

Earl Trapp, Mayor, San Ignacio/ Santa Elena: “It’s not much into the horizon that you can see as it is very hazy. Sure that what has been accounting for this has been the many forest fires. Some that has been genuinely lit by farmers burning their farms and then some that are out due to the wildfires. So yes it’s been affecting us in terms of bringing more heat to our town. I can see that every day I check on the floor outside of my house I see a lot of ashes and I’m sure these are ashes that has come form afar flying and falling there. But the haze is there from early in the morning and I can tell you that when I spoke to an individual two weeks ago for the same purpose I can see for about a good like today it’s kind of clear today. I see through the window and I can see almost I would say a half mile, quarter mile to half mile into to the horizon so it’s very very good at this moment. Yesterday it was more and very hazy. So today it’s much better but of corse the heat is on.”

The community is also being affected by wildfires occurring in neighboring Guatemala.

Related post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *