The San Juan Daily Star
Guánica mayor urges attention to forest fire prevention
By The Star Staff
Guánica Mayor Ismael “Titi” Rodríguez Ramos issued a call to citizens to be attentive to the prevention of forest or grassland fires, which have been increasing in recent days due to the lack of rain and rising heat levels.
“Yesterday our staff from the Municipal Emergency Management Office fought a fire near the community, and these are situations that can sometimes be prevented,” the mayor said. “In addition to the danger of the fires, the smoke generated by these events particularly affects people with respiratory conditions.”
To avoid preventable fires, the mayor recommended not throwing lit cigarettes on public roads, because many fires originate near roads, which necessitates closing the road while the fire is fought. Similarly, flammable material should never be left in dry places, and open burning is a prohibited practice in Puerto Rico, Rodríguez Ramos noted.
The wildfire season typically begins in February and runs through August, according to Puerto Rico’s weather conditions. Fires start or spread due to various factors, such as high temperatures, low relative humidity, wind, availability of fuels (dry leaves, branches, trees and grass) and global warming.
“There are many situations caused by these fires, from the destruction of wildlife habitat, air pollution and accidents due to loss of visibility because of smoke, to soil erosion, destruction of crops and increased operational expenses such as supplies and equipment,” the mayor said. “We urge citizens to be attentive and cooperate in the process.”