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Pine forests destroyed

Felix Chaudhary
Friday, August 29, 2014

ABOUT 110 hectares of pine forests worth $0.6million have been lost to forest fires and the extreme dry conditions being experienced in the Western Division, says Fiji Pine executive chairman Faiz Khan.

"We have had to fight many pine planation fires over the past two months and the prolonged dry spell combined with carelessness of some individuals have resulted in huge losses," he said.

"We have lost around 110 hectares of plantations aged between one to four years.

"With no signs of rain in sight we will likely write off these 110 hectares at a total cost of around $600,000."

Mr Khan added a number of mitigation measures had been put in place in an effort to stem the rise in indiscriminate fires.

"Working with the Commissioner Western's office there is now a policy put in place for cane farmers to take permits before burning their farms.

"This ensures that burning is controlled and people take greater responsibility.

"Furthermore, we have people in our watch towers in various forests with high powered binoculars keeping watch.

"This ensures that if there is a smoke or fire detected, our response time is reduced."

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