JAMAICA WILL soon have its own Forest Fire Management Programme as attempts are being made to stem the continued loss of key forest resources due to forest fires.
Over the last three years, there have been 45 forest fires destroying about 57 hectares of forest. To curtail the loss, the Forestry Department, assisted by the United States Forest Service, is drafting the programme to guide the island's response to forest fires.
Robert Pickersgill, minister of water, land, environment and climate change announced the drafting of the policy, while speaking at the launch of the Westphalia Local Forest Management Committee (LFMC) recently.
"In terms of Forest Fire Management Project, a team from the United States Forest Service is on the ground doing preliminary field work to carry out the drafting of a programme for fire management services," he said.
Reduce forest fires
The establishment of the fire programme is part of the Forestry Department's activities under the European Union-funded Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction project, which is presently being implemented.
The Forest Fire Management Programme seeks to help to reduce the incidents of forest fires, as well as the resultant health impacts and CO2 emissions. The Forest Fire Management Programme involves the development of a comprehensive plan, which includes the mapping of areas most at risk for forest fires, the installation of fire break mechanisms, and the conducting of training workshops on forest fire management and activities geared at raising public awareness about forest fires.