March 18, 2023: The Forestry Division of the Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries (MALF) has launched its Fire Patrol System for 2023. The system is expected to run from March 1st to May 31st to coincide with the hottest part of the Dry Season.
During this period, patrols will target “Hot Spots” areas such as Diego Martin and the Northern Range.
According to the Agricultural Fires Act, the Fire Season starts on December 1st in any one year and ends on June 30th of the following year.
The Ministry wishes to remind citizens that a permit is required to light any outdoor fires during this period, including land-clearing exercises in the sector.
Failure to obtain a Permit carries a fine of $20,000 and six months imprisonment.
Senator, the Honourable Kazim Hosein, Minister of Agriculture Land and Fisheries, urges the public to be vigilant and advises that “reckless behaviour may have dire consequences on the environment.”
“The Government of Trinidad and Tobago has placed environmental considerations at the heart of its development policy to enhance food security. Fires may have devastating effects on the forests and its inhabitants. Hence, we must do all in our power to protect and preserve our natural resources,” added Senator Hosein.
The Forestry Division is mandated to ensure that the forest biodiversity is sustainably managed and protected.
As of March 12th, 2023, it has been recorded that within the six (6) conservancies and National Parks Section, the total number of fires is at (75) seventy-five, which has burnt and affected a total land space area of 326.58 hectares.
Table of Conservancies / National Parks
|Conservancies||Total # of Fires||Total # of Ha Burnt|
|National Parks (Kernaham)||12||14.9|
The officers and staff continue to do daily fire patrols throughout the island.
The Forestry Division is charged with the mandate to manage the states, Forests, Wildlife and Natural Resources. The Forestry Division is in charge of 192,000ha of lands comprising 36 Forest Reserve, 11 Game Sanctuaries and State lands.
MALF wishes to remind citizens that the following guidelines should be adhered to if a Permit is granted:
- Burn only during the period specified on the Permit.
- Avoid leaving cut trees, bushes or brush lying around. (Discard safely to reduce
- Have water readily available to extinguish a fire.
- Don’t burn during periods of high wind or hot, dry periods.
- Have extra help available to assist in controlling fire.
- Clear fire trace around the area to be burned.
- Burn small amounts at a time.