Ministry holds awareness on fires

THE Ministry of Forests continues to hold awareness with members of the public on the need to be cautious with open fires, especially pine forest fires.

Minister for Forests Osea Naiqamu said most pine fires were a direct result of climatic conditions.

He said a lot of these fires were recorded during the prolonged dry season.

He said there were also fires which started from carelessness of members of the public who failed to control it.

“We have been working with members of the public especially in communities near pine farms to create awareness on fire safety.

“These are little ways in which we can prevent forest fires.

“Another issue is the pine thefts which are slowly being addressed by FPL.”

Mr Naiqamu said Fiji Pine Ltd managed the issue of pine thefts well, adding they managed to reduce incidents over the years.

Meanwhile, in November last year FPL revealed that it recorded 89 fires, affecting a land mass of 2248 hectares.

The company’s general manager operations, Asesela Cokanacagi, said then, forest fires continued to be a major concern for the company because it directly impacted production and reduced the quality of timber.

He had said in 2014, 1234.9ha of land leased by the FPL were damaged by fire.

He added that similar figures were recorded in 2015 with a total land mass of 1702ha affected and 1001ha destroyed in 2016.

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