Brazil to lend expertise to Guyana in fighting wildfires

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana
Members of the Joint Services responding to a wildfire at Santa Aratak [GDF photo]

In light of the recent wildfires which have devastated several areas across the country, the Guyana Government has solicited assistance from Brazil for training in forest fire management.

Officers of the Guyana Fire Service (GFS) have commenced training facilitated by Brazilian fire experts to better combat and manage forest fires and wildfires.

This Brazil/Guyana partnership will allow for aerial surveys as well as engagement with the Civil Defence Commission (CDC), aimed at improving local authorities’ readiness, capabilities, experience, and expertise in tackling forest fires.

It also involves overflights and spotting activities to identify areas with ongoing bushfires. Additionally, it involves overflights and spotting activities to identify areas with ongoing bushfires.

In this regard, Brazil will provide guidance and lend support to firefighting efforts, especially in areas that may be difficult for the GFS to access regularly.

While it was not disclosed how many ranks are participating or are slated to participate in the exercise, Home Affairs Minister, Robeson Benn expressed his appreciation for the support, noting that the initiative will play a significant role in equipping Guyana to better respond and control fires.

On this point, he disclosed that the Brazilian government will also be conducting assessments of recent and ongoing fire damages.

“I think there is the question of supporting us at particular times in relation to fire bombers and in relation to having a continued assessment of the state in relation to fires in the agriculture areas and the forest which we have to protect.”

The Minister added that the Government’s primary goal is to effectively combat forest fires and safeguard communities and natural habitats.

According to Benn, resources are stretched thin, and as a result, the Fire Service plans to distribute pumps and tanks to Amerindian communities that have trailers. This is part of efforts to help residents in remote areas store water that can be utilised in the event of a fire.

“This is so they will have an almost immediate response for themselves because we know now their houses burn too, their crops burn too, the animals die too,” Benn said.

“A lot of work has to be done with our population in relation to fire safety, a lot of work has to be done with the government agencies and also the people who buy things in relation to the quality of electrical and other equipment from the stores,” he added.

From January to April 3 this year, Guyana had encountered over 1300 wildfires across the country. Of that amount, 1000 had occurred in communities located in Region Five (Mahaica- Berbice) and Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne).