13:45, March 25, 2010
A thousand forest fires burnt through Cuba in the first quarter of 2010
alone, Lt. Col. Sergio Zubizarreta, deputy chief of the Cuban fire
department, said Wednesday.
Zubizarreta said the fires were mainly caused by draught in the dry
season which usually runs from February to May.
Besides, reckless pasture burning, driving cars without spark arrestors
and large amount of combustible materials and fallen trees amassed after
hurricanes in 2008 were also causes of wildfires.
Areas at high risk of being affected by fires are the eastern provinces
of Las Tunas and Camaguey, the western province of Pinar del Rio and the
special municipality of Isla de la Juventud.
According to officials of the Cuban national forest ranger corps, some
437 fires were reported from January to May 2009, some 80 percent of
which were caused by negligent behaviors.
The fire department has pledged to improve the fire emergency and rescue
system at a time the country is developing a risk reduction mechanism.