JIS News

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  • In order to significantly reduce the incidence of fires, particularly bush fires, the Jamaica Fire Brigade (JFB) will intensify its public education campaign across all parishes.
  • Minister of State in the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Colin Fagan, made the announcement during a press briefing, held at the Ministry’s Hagley Park Road offices on July 6.
  • He noted that there will be a special emphasis on those areas of Kingston and St. Andrew, St. Thomas, Clarendon, Manchester and St. Elizabeth that historically experience high levels of bush fires.

In order to significantly reduce the incidence of fires, particularly bush fires, the Jamaica Fire Brigade (JFB) will intensify its public education campaign across all parishes.

Minister of State in the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Colin Fagan, made the announcement during a press briefing, held at the Ministry’s Hagley Park Road offices on July 6.

He noted that there will be a special emphasis on those areas of Kingston and St. Andrew, St. Thomas, Clarendon, Manchester and St. Elizabeth that historically experience high levels of bush fires.

The State Minister also informed that the Brigade intends to partner with entities such as the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management  (ODPEM), the Forestry Department and the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS) to increase the chances of public acceptance.

For his part, Commissioner of the Jamaica Fire Brigade, Errol Mowatt, noted that since last year, the Brigade has seen an increase in bush fires.

“Whereas in the farming communities we usually have bush fires and we attribute most of those bush fires to the practice of slash and burn, since last year we have been seeing bush fires everywhere,” he added, and cautioned Jamaicans not to undertake any open burning at this time.

“We are saying absolutely no burning…even if it means we must work with the police or any other agent of the State to ensure that we bring this to an end,” Mr. Mowatt said.

Commissioner Mowatt also informed that there were some 9,000 bush fires in 2014, while there have been 4,039 bush fires so far this year.

Meanwhile, he noted that the Fire Brigade was able to do an air reconnaissance of the fire currently burning in St. Thomas.

“There is severe burning taking place in St. Thomas. Some of these areas are inaccessible to the fire brigade and even where we gain access, there is absolutely no water in any rivers or streams,” he said.

Mr. Mowatt added that units from Kingston are supporting the fire fighting efforts in St. Thomas.

The recent fires in the Mavis Bank area resulted in the loss of eight houses, six houses partially destroyed and 32 persons left homeless.