The Guyana Fire Service (GFS) has partnered with other agencies to establish a well-structured strategy to address and manage the surge in wildfires often referred to locally as grass fires.
Speaking to the media on the sideline of an event on Thursday, Chief Fire Officer (ag) Gregory Wickham confirmed that there has been an increase in these types of fire.
“We would have seen a great increase in the number of grass fires or what we call wildfires and so it has its impacts but the fire department along with other agencies, we have a plan in place to deal with these occurrences,” the fire chief told reporters.
He added that it is not wise to leave grass or garbage fires unattended since it can get out of control. He said the possibility of it spreading is much higher during the dry season.
“If you’re going to use fire as a means to get rid of waste, then you must be able to supervise it. For those in the backlands and interior locations, where you have those fires, you must be able to do what we call trenching to stop fire spread,” Wickham pleaded.
Speaking on the challenges firefighters face, Wickham relayed that in some instances accessibility poses a challenge when battling grass fires.
“The areas where some of these fires are, they are way out where our fire tenders can reach and so firefighters will have to do what we call ‘foot it’ to get to these scenes. However, we have been doing so.”
Wickham is also urging members of the public to ensure sources of water are maintained and preserved, so it can be useful in the event of a fire.
Citizens are encouraged to practice fire safety since it is everyone’s business and if you see suspicious fire or smoke call 912.