El Niño will greatly affect weather patterns and raise the possibility of grass fires in Guyana

The Guyana Fire Service and Fire Prevention Department plan to improve readiness and response efforts to safeguard people, property, and the environment during El Niño occurrences by comprehending the possible consequences of El Niño and putting into practice efficient mitigation techniques and practices.

This would include ongoing monitoring, public awareness initiatives, community cooperation, and collaboration with relevant stakeholders.

Hinterland and rural areas can experience vast grass fires during this period that can destroy properties and livelihoods. It is recommended that surroundings be kept clean at all times.

Heavy winds and dust can create health hazards; therefore, all doors and windows should be kept closed.

To minimise the risk of grass fires, controlled burning practices should be implemented during non-El Niño periods.

By strategically burning small sections of grasslands under controlled conditions, citizens can decrease the accumulation of dry and flammable materials, making it less likely for fires to spread rapidly during El Niño.

Agricultural burning is common in Guyana, but during El Niño, the risk of fires can be heightened due to drier conditions and increased flammability of vegetation.

Farmers should practice proper burning techniques, timing burns, and ensuring sufficient firebreaks. Alternative practices, such as composting, mulching, and no-till farming, can improve soil health and reduce fires.

Firebreaks should be strategically created and maintained based on natural topography, wind directions, and potential fire spread patterns.

A firebreak or double track is a gap in vegetation or other combustible materials that acts as a barrier to slow or stop the progress of a grass fire or wildfire.

Ideally, firebreaks should be placed along ridgelines, natural barriers, or roads, which can help halt the progress of a fire. The width of firebreaks depends on the intensity and rate of spread of the grassland fire. In general, wider firebreaks are more effective at slowing down fires. For grassland fires, a typical width of at least 30–60 feet (10–20 metres) is recommended.

However, in extreme fire conditions, wider firebreaks may be necessary. Firebreaks should be easily accessible to firefighting equipment and personnel. Ensure that there are clear escape routes for firefighters in case the fire’s behaviour becomes uncontrollable.

For more information or to report a fire or any other related emergency, contact the Guyana Fire Service at 912 or 226-2411-3.

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