Fire in Cuba out of control, hundreds of hectares damaged

Fire in Cuba out of control, hundreds of hectares damaged

A forest fire that started a week ago in eastern Cuba and which still has not been controlled has so far left more than 1,300 hectares of forests damaged, authorities and local media reported on Saturday.

Dromedary planes and some 400 members of the Armed Forces together with park rangers, firefighters and local farmers, as well as members of the neighboring province of Santiago de Cuba supported the extinction of the outbreaks in the Mayarí region, in Holguín, some 800 kilometers east of the capital.

According to Radio Mayarí journalist Emilio Rodríguez, there were some 18 people “protected in hospitals,” without giving further details. No fatalities were reported.

Although it is a sparsely populated area, the communities of Vivero Dos, Pueblo Nuevo and La Mensura were affected by the proximity of the fires that were fueled by the dry season and the winds.

Images provided by television show gruesome scenes of flames and smoke, while the troops tried to make fire barriers. The area is classified as environmentally protected due to the diversity of its fauna and flora.

A report by Cuban rangers from earlier this month said more than 80 forest fires were reported nationally in January, coinciding with the start of the dry season that runs through May. 87% of these fires were extinguished before reaching five hectares, he explained.

The most affected provinces were Pinar del Río and Artemisa, in the west, and Camagüey and Holguín, in the center and east. 90% were started by human action, such as uncontrolled burning, poachers, irresponsible smokers and vehicles that released a spark, the report highlighted. The Caribbean nation added some 280 forest fires throughout 2022.

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Written by Editor TLN

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