Fiji Time: 6:58 PM on Thursday 26 November

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Forest fire warning

Repeka Nasiko
Thursday, July 10, 2014

AS sugarcane harvesting season goes into full swing, Fiji Pine Limited has expressed concerns about the issue of burning and its impact on nearby pine stations.

Fiji Pine Limited operations manager Asesela Cokanacagi said fire protection issues to the company at this time of the year was important.

"We need to educate and advise our sugarcane farmers and general public living near Fiji pine plantations to be more cautious in burning cane debris after cane has been cut," Mr Cokanacagi said.

"This is one of the main causes of pine plantation fires in the past."

He said investment by the company began when pine seedling were planted properly and firmly on the ground.

"When it gets burnt, for one, two, three-year-old plantations, the survival rate will be very low and it means a great loss to the industry.

"There hasn't been any fire so far this year and it is only important at this stage to advise sugarcane farmers and the general public as a whole to at least exercise a lot of caution in lighting fires.

"Last year, the estimated cost of plantation fire was quite significant and we wouldn't like to repeat this year."

He said appropriate measures has been put in place to distribute fire protection flyers to the public, exploit social media outlets in addressing the impact of unnecessary burning and attending and addressing issues during tikina (district) meetings.

Mr Cokanacagi added farmers living near pine stations must alert the company first before any burning was done. He said lighting a fire in a Fiji Pine Ltd station was illegal and people caught committing the crime would be prosecuted.

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