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Apr 29, 2020

Community Effort to Stem Wildfires Outside of Succotz

The forest fires are caused by a number of environmental factors such the current high temperatures.  The Vaca Forest has experienced the largest wild fire affecting the biodiversity of the protected area but there was little relief this afternoon when it rained. And as the unprecedented fires started to spread closer to the village of Succotz, in the Cayo District, residents sprung into action to contain the blaze and protect farms and other properties. News Five’s Isani Cayetano was in the west and files the following report.


Isani Cayetano, Reporting

Approximately four miles outside of Succotz Village, a community effort led by Edgar Can is underway.  These men have been here for several days and are working tirelessly to arrest the spread of a wildfire that threatens to damage farmland, as well as other properties surrounding the village.


Edgar Can

Edgar Can, Resident, Succotz Village

“We started on Saturday, we saw that a lot of smoke was in the village and so we decided to get a group together and then like around two p.m. we started at the back of Succotz right, because we have a big, like eighty acres of private property and fire was there and smoke was coming into the village.  So we got a good amount of helpers from the community.  It was like around forty to fifty of them.”


Isani Cayetano

“When you say the back of Succotz Village, how far away are we at this point where we stand?”


Edgar Can

“Like four to five miles, it‘s located by the Cave World Adventure.  It was to be a tourist site.  So that’s where we are right now.”


Residents are worried that if the fire is not brought under control, it will consume everything in its path, including hundreds of acres of arable land.


Edgar Can

“The fear is, as you know, the smoke and also the fires because we have farmers at the back of the village.  If you come from the village to this side you will see that you have maybe fifty farmers and they have cows and cattle production, sheep and all those stuff, but at the same time it‘s at the back of the village so we have to see if we can help the community because it‘s affecting us.  A lot of the villagers, they were complaining about the smoke and also what we noticed is that the chairman was not into this so we said let‘s get a group together and that‘s what we are doing now.”


Isani Cayetano

“This seems tedious and back-breaking to be climbing the hillside and trying to clear a path so that the fire doesn‘t cross into this area.  Explain to us the process, what does this take and what kind of work are we seeing here?”


Edgar Can

“What we are doing is that we are doing like a walkway so that the fire could extinguish, so that it doesn‘t cross and continue to the next side.”


Since seven a.m., the team has cleared almost three miles of foliage from the forest floor in anticipation that the fire would not spread beyond the clearance.


Edgar Can

“We have to supervise it so what we are doing is that we are, like for example, a group is here and then we walk and see that the fire is still that side, right.  And then, also we have like two or three persons who know about fires so they are helping us in dealing with this situation.”


While there are two teams working to contain the fire near Succotz from both sides, the Vaca Forest Reserve which is also in the Cayo District is also burning.  The air tanker which was being used in Belmopan was also scheduled to fly over the vast area from the Maya Flats airstrip.  The Vaca Forest Reserve is located north of the Chiquibul National Park and fires in that area have created large gusts of smoke that cover Benque Viejo and Succotz. Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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