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Forest Department urges public to cease burning; halts issuance of burning permits

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Posted: Wednesday, April 8, 2020. 4:03 pm CST.

By BBN Staff: The Ministry of Fisheries, Forestry, the Environment and Sustainable Development, through the Forest Department, reminds everyone that it is the middle of the fire season, which is observed from February 15 to June 15 annually.

The dry season is a dangerous time to be lighting fires.

The risk of wildfires is high during the dry season and wildfires can lead to severe smoke pollution that poses environmental and health concerns, as well as destruction of property and natural habitat.

On April 4, 2020, the Forest Department observed as much as 73 fires in just one day.

These are mainly agricultural fires, with some bordering natural forested areas that pose a high risk for wildfires.

Some of these agricultural fires are also on the windward side of major communities like Belmopan, where smoke inhalation by residents can exacerbate respiratory ailments.

The Forest Department is urgently calling on the public, especially land developers, farmers and local communities to cease burning at this time.

In 2019, Belize experienced a severe drought and as forecasted the drought conditions have continued into 2020, and are expected to be same or worse.

Conditions are favourable for a long and hot dry season this year. High temperature with moisture deficiencies and high fuel load offers optimum conditions for more wildfires with high intensity and all associated effects.

The Forest Department also reminds the public that a permit is required for any agricultural burning.

Failure to provide evidence of this to the police can lead to arrest and prosecution.

The Forest Department will not be issuing any burning permits until further notice.

 

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