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Forest fire season arrives

January 31, 2011

The heart of verano, or the dry season, is upon us, and officials from the National Commission on Forest Fires (CONIFOR)  recommend caution. Last year there were 85 forest fires throughout Costa Rica, affecting some 18,000 hectares of land. Of those, 3,500 hectares were in protected areas. According to an interview with CONIFOR coordinator Luis Diego Román on the radio station ÁDN 90.7, “nearly 100% of forest fires are caused by humans, either through negligence or premeditation.” Most fires occur in the northwest part of the country, where the dry season is most pronounced.

Here are some recommendations from the National Program of Fire Management:

-If you are going to burn agricultural debris, do so only when absolutely necessary and you must have a permit from the Ministry of Agriculture and Ranching (Minesterio de Agricultura y Ganadería), and you must follow the technical recommendations stated on the permit.

If you are on holiday with your family, remember:

-Do not throw lit cigarettes or matches.

-Only have campfires when necessary and in permitted places, far from trees and dry leaves. Additionally, clean the fire pit of garbage at least three meters around the fire pit, make barriers to isolate the pit and never leave the fire unattended. When leaving, make sure the fire is completely extinguished.

-Do not leave or throw glass around. The sun reflects stronger and could start the grass on fire (magnifying glass effect)

-If you observe a forest fire within a Protected Wildlife Area, immediately call the Conservation Area office or call 911.

For more details, contact Luis Diego Román at 2256-0917 or diego.roman@sinac.go.cr

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