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Panama prepares for forest fires in 'severe dry season'

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Panama prepares  for forest fires in 'severe dry season'


Posted 27/12/2019

With a severe dry season forecast Panama’s  Environment  Ministry (Miambiente)  is preparing for the season of forest fires, many of which usually occur in protected areas.

Helvecia Bonilla, Director  of Environmental Risk of the entity, explained that they have developed a plan for each province, focused on prevention, control and extinction.

They are holding conferences and talks with communities and farmers, so that they understand  the negative consequences of uncontrolled fires

“We are making known the impacts of these fires, not only for the flora and fauna but also for the health of the. In addition, this affects climate change, ”said Bonilla..

The Ministry as  two brigades. One  of 350 employees, and the second manned by 240 volunteers, who will attend any type of plant mass incident in the protected areas of the country.

"A severe dry season is expected, so we must emphasize prevention and teaching,"  The motto of the season will be "Only education generates environmental awareness."

The call of Miambiente is based on the projection reports of Hydrometeorology of the Electricity Transmission Company (Etesa) about the severity of the next dry season, which began in mid-December and will last, at least, until the month of March

Etesa reports that in 2019 there was between 30% and 40% less rainfall in the country, an alarming percentage compared to the usual levels.

Statistics from the Department of Environmental Risk highlight that in 2019, 1,177 forest fires were registered, 57 within protected areas, and 1,060 outside them.

Theyaffected 74,890.04 hectares. Darién was the most affected province, with 42,354.92 hectares, followed by Panama, with 14,383.73 hectares.

According to environmental authorities, vegetation fires increase pollution levels (carbon dioxide) in the atmosphere and contribute to the greenhouse effect and climate change.



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