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FPL calls for enforcement

Kalesi Mele
Monday, November 27, 2017

PEOPLE could face up to seven years imprisonment for lighting fires carelessly.

Fiji Pine Ltd chairperson Faiz Khan said this provision under Section 365 of the Crimes Decree needed to be enforced to serve as a reminder to Fijians not to be negligent when lighting fires.

Mr Khan said the company had lost a lot of pine trees through forest fires this year alone by referring to an incident in Lololo, Lautoka, several weeks ago where a total land area of 1000 hectares were destroyed in a single fire incident.

He claimed a landowner had started the fire with the intention of cleaning his back yard, but it had spread into the plantation destroying the pine trees.

Fiji Pine has a total of 84,000 hectares of land leased from landowners, of which 25,000 hectares had been planted already.

He said this year alone forest fires wiped out 10 per cent of the planted area.

"There must be some form of deterrence to everybody else who are watching and thinking that people can be negligent and nothing is going to happen," he said.

"We are repeatedly knocking on the doors of the relevant authority saying the man needs to be apprehended because we have to send the right signal.

"We have lost a lot in the fire and we don't want to send the message that it's ok to light a fire."

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