NFA

707 incidents of grass, rubbish and bush fires in 3-months recorded by NFA

707 incidents of grass, rubbish and bush fires in 3-months recorded by NFA

By Navitalai Naivalurua
Friday 15/12/2023
Source: NFA

The National Fire Authority has expressed their concerns about the rising incidents of grass, rubbish and bushfires as they have recorded 707 incidents around the country in past three months.

NFA Chief Executive Officer Puamau Sowane says bushfires not only pose a threat to farms, properties, and lives, but they also pose a threat to motorists, people with health issues and animals.

He says according to their statistics, there has been a major spike in the number of bushfires, grass fires, and cane fires as we approach dryer and windy weather conditions.

Sowane says weather plays a major role in the severity of bush, grass or sugarcane fires and NFA is concerned – taking into consideration the current dry and windy conditions in all divisions.

The CEO says Fiji is currently experiencing hot, dry weather coupled with windy conditions and if we are not careful with these uncontrolled fires, then it can easily spread and destroy properties and maybe even take lives.

He says they have noted firefighters in the three divisions have been attending to several bush, grass, sugarcane, and rubbish fire calls daily.

The NFA CEO says the majority of these fires have been a result of careless burning despite many reminders from the NFA.

Sowane says according to Regulation 21(2) of the Environment Management (Waste Disposal and Recycling) Regulations 2007, a person who intentionally burns household garbage in a municipality area (a town or district constituted under the Local Government Act 1972) commits an offence unless the local authority has a permit that covers the resulting emission. The penalty for anyone who fails to adhere to this law could be up to $10,000.

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He also emphasised that under Section 23 of the Forest Act, it is prohibited to light or cause to be lit a fire in any (i) forest reserve, (ii) nature reserve and (iii) any other areas that have been declared a fire hazard area except in a place established for the purpose of lighting fires.

The CEO says out of the 707 fires, 417 were recorded in the western division, 196 in the north and 94 incidents in the central and eastern divisions.

Puamau is reminding the general public that fire safety is crucial for everyone, and it is every individual’s responsibility to ensure that they adhere to fire safety precautions to avoid such incidents.

He says they do not want to see people lose their properties, farms, and livestock going into the festive season and in preparation for the new school year, especially after the difficult time faced by Fijians during the COVID-19 pandemic.

NFA is urging the public to call the toll-free fire emergency number 910 if they see any fire so that the firefighters can respond in the quickest time.

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