Jamaica to get forest fire management plan
Jamaica will soon have its own Forest Fire Management Programme to stem the continued loss of key forest resources due to forest fires.
Over the past 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.
Honourable 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) on Wednesday, September 12.
“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.
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 incidences 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 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.
In addition to the development of the fire management plan, Minister Pickersgill noted that additional areas are being improved under the project.
“Since its inception in October 2010 to date, a total of 248 hectares have been planted in several of these watershed areas. In addition, the selection of 2,600 crown lands to be declared as forest reserve and forest management areas have been completed and a review is currently underway,” he said.