The forest fires of this season were not as dramatic in the Chiquibul or Vaca compared to those of 2020; however, in the Baldy Beacon area, of the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve, where FCD Rangers are now based, the impacts of forest fires were high.
During the month of May small fires were suppressed in the Vaca Forest Reserve with the help of local farmers. In the Chiquibul, fires were monitored and suppressed with the forest humidity preventing them from becoming large forest fires. While these efforts and that of sensitizing locals through site visits by FCD’s educator proved successful, in the Baldy Beacon the fires flared off and eventually caused the destruction of over 11,000 acres of the sensitive ecosystem, and imperiled human property.
This time it was recognized that it was not a natural caused fire but in fact it was the military practicing in those elevated areas that caused the fire and the resulting destruction. With this in mind, the Forest Department, FCD and other stakeholders such as BullRun Farms have recognized the importance of developing more stringent protocols and monitoring of military activities more closely. In addition, it will be necessary to have fire fighting tools more readily available and have local stakeholders trained.