NFA warns against uncontrolled burning

December 23, 2023 8:07 am

The National Fire Authority is cautioning the public against uncontrolled burning, emphasizing the associated dangers and potential spillover effects.

According to the NFA’s analysis, during both the dry and wet seasons, grass, bush, cane, and rubbish fires remain predominant, especially in the Northern and Western divisions.

NFA Chief Executive Puamau Sowane highlights that the high moisture content in vegetation during the wet season decreases the ignition point for fires.

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In contrast, the low moisture content during the dry season increases the ignition point.

Sowane says the NFA is raising awareness about the risks of grass fires spilling over to residential properties, posing threats to homes and communities.

He says recent incidents underscore the potential hazards of uncontrolled burning.

“Just recently, on December 14, 2023, a grass fire at Nasoso, Nadi, damaged an EFL pine power pole, causing a power supply shut down to 12 homes. Our fire crews had rushed to the scene from two other emergency responses at Tadra Votualevu and Namoli Nadi Back Road and managed to save four houses and a Grace Road supermarket. This is an example where the National Fire Authority is stretching its limited resources.”

The penalties for uncontrolled burning are significant under the Environment Management (Waste Disposal and Recycling) Regulations 2007, with fines of $10,000 or a 5-year jail sentence for those caught without a permit to burn.

Additional penalties are imposed under Section 23 of the Forest Act.

The public is urged to be aware of these penalties to deter unauthorized burning.

Fijians are encouraged to exercise caution and adhere to regulations to prevent uncontrolled fires and protect lives, properties, and the environment.