Escalating Bushfires Create A Dire Challenge For SLFS – St. Lucia Times

The content originally appeared on: St. Lucia Times News

As it responds to other emergencies, the Saint Lucia Fire Service (SLFS) has faced a significant challenge in dealing with escalating bushfires.

So far for the year, firefighters have responded to three hundred and seventy-eight bushfires.

Station Officer of Fire Prevention Owen Cazaubon told St. Lucia Times that most of the fires occurred in April, stretching the SLFS resources as it responds to other critical developments.

Cazaubon said the situation had also adversely affected the timely response to some life-threatening emergencies.

As a result, the fire service has reiterated its fire safety appeal.

“We advise the public to refrain from setting fires as a means of garbage disposal, land clearing, or otherwise, particularly in residential areas,” the senior SLFS official said.

Cazaubon explained that in addition to the harmful effects on life and property, setting fires within two miles of a town or settlement without notice and permission is an offence.

According to the The Saint Lucia Criminal Code:

“A person who, at any time, within two miles of any city, town, village, or settlement, sets fire or causes fire to be set without having given notice and first obtained permission under section 449, and whether or not the fire causes damage or injury to the property of another person, is liable on summary conviction to a fine of $1,000.”

On Monday, Saint Lucia’s Cabinet of Ministers approved declaring a water-related emergency, the fourth in the past decade, as the country experiences rainfall scarcity and water supply challenges.