Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve Wildfires threaten flora and fauna – Love FM Belize News & Music Power

Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve Wildfires threaten flora and fauna

The devastating wildfires have also damaged protected areas in the west. A wildfire broke out in the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve last week, and it intensified over the weekend. The flames spread and destroyed one of the Belize Defense Force conservation posts on the reserve. To compound the problem, the fires have also sent plumes of smoke into the air, affecting air quality in the city of San Ignacio Santa Elena and surrounding communities. The Minister of Sustainable Development and area representative for Cayo Northeast, Orlando Habet, spoke about the threat the flames pose to the area’s flora and fauna and the measures being taken to address them.

Orlando Habet, Minister of Sustainable Development: “And it has escalated in the last two days, causing much of the pine forest to be set on fire, but fortunately we have the cooperation and participation and participation of various entities. So we have the Forest Department, we have BECOL staff, we have the timber company that is also helping us and we also have CISCO, the contractor that is doing the road to Caracol, so they have all come together to help. Bullridge, the concession company, also has a lot of resources available, bulldozers, graders trying to open the fire lines so that the fire can be contained in one area and it doesn’t jump. Unfortunately there is limited staff. They need to rest after fighting fire twenty-four hours a day and night, so we have to do rotations and yesterday was a better day because the temperature was about thirteen degrees cooler than Saturday so a lot more work could have been done on the ground . But the information I received last night is that the fire has increased and is spreading to other areas, so all teams are working all day today to control the fire. How it started is an indication that it started in an area that is not inhabited so it is in the forest so the suspicion at the moment is that it started with lightning and so that started the fire but there is a lot of fuel on it the ground in terms of rotten wood and leaves and dry debris because of the excessive heat and because it was easy to light the fire.”

Twin Cities Mayor Earl Trapp Jr. also spoke to our newsroom about the problems the wildfires are causing for borough residents. According to him, as the situation improves, there is a need for residents to work together to reduce the number of fires, especially caused by farmers clearing land.

Earl Trapp, Mayor, San Ignacio/Santa Elena: “You can’t see much on the horizon because it’s very blurry. Certainly, the many forest fires are the cause of this. Some were actually lit by farmers burning their farms, and others were down because of the bushfires. So yes, it affects us in terms of bringing more heat to our city. I see that every day when I look on the floor outside my house I see a lot of ash and I am sure that this is ash that comes from far away and flies and falls there. But the haze is there early in the morning and I can tell you that when I spoke to someone two weeks ago for the same purpose, I can see about the same as today, that it is quite clear today. I look out the window and I can see almost, I would say, half a mile, a quarter mile to half a mile into the horizon, so it’s very, very good at the moment. Yesterday it was lake and very misty. So today is much better, but of course the heat is going on.”

The community is also affected by forest fires in neighboring Guatemala.