Surge in fire spark fear among residents

January 8, 2024 4:28 pm

A spark of fear has flared within residents in the Northern Division following the surge in fire on roadside plantations in recent months.

It was a time of chaos in the three-month period from August to October last year, as a total of 707 fire incidents in various forms were reported Fiji-wide, and 196 fire incidents alone were recorded in the Northern Division.

The different types of fires included bush, cane, grass, and rubbish fires, which have often disrupted the movement of commuters in agricultural areas.

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Divisional Police Commander Northern, Kemueli Baledrokadroka, says it posed a lot of risks to people and has prompted authorities to increase awareness on fire safety.

“As I have said, we all have a role to play. It is not the concern of the Mata Ni Tikina alone, the village elders or village chiefs or the Turaga Ni Koro – it is a collective thing that we need to work together and see that this can be controlled.”

Baledrokadroka urges people not to be complacent as we have entered the wet season, but to continue to remain cautious around fire.

“However, we are fortunate that the Northern Division is sort of not out of the woods yet … we are starting to have continuous rainfall. But, looking back to the past fires that have been happening in the Northern Division … we can say that yes it can be controlled.”

Baledrokadroka adds that the security and safety of people and properties should be prioritized, and everyone has a role to play on such uncalled occasions.

Authorities have also warned people of the consequences if they fail to adhere to the law.

According to the Environment Management Regulations 2007, a person commits an offense unless the local authority has a permit that covers the resulting emission.

The penalty for anyone who fails to adhere to this law could be up to $10,000.