A sigh of relief for Manchester firemen

MANDEVILLE, Manchester —Like farmers and numerous householders who depend on rainwater harvesting, firemen in this mountainous south-central parish are giving thanks for recent showers.

Manchester firefighters were pushed to the limit in the first four months of the year as drought and strong winds fuelled numerous bush fires.

“Yeah man! We welcome the rains because it has significantly cut down the bush fires,” deputy superintendent for fire services in Manchester, Emrick Needham, told the Jamaica Observer last week.

Figures released late last month said that between January 1 and April 21, there were 258 bush fires in Manchester, 39 per cent of which happened in April.

Experts say that while bush fires can be started naturally by lightning and spontaneous combustion in a pile-up of dried wood, sticks and leaves, most fires in Jamaica are caused by humans including farmers clearing land, the burning of garbage and careless disposal of cigarette butts.

In a recent release pointing to the dangers caused by bush fires, Custos of Manchester Garfield Green said people’s careless approach to fire “must stop” as it poses “a threat to our health and the safety of the environment”.

“Let us think wisely and act responsibly,” he said.

He urged residents to know the phone numbers of their nearest fire station such as Mandeville: 876-962-2588 and Christiana: 876- 964-2444. — Garfield Myers

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