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May 18, 2023

Forest Fires Affecting Entire Central America

Creating awareness on the impacts of climate change at the community level is among the work that government, multinational agencies and N.G.O.’s have been doing. It includes looking at Belize’s resiliency in the agriculture sector and minimizing carbon footprint, as well as the energy sector and looking at renewable energy. But recently there has been the issue of forest fires and the effects on biodiversity, as well as the health of the people. Today, Executive Director of the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre, Doctor Colin Young spoke of the linkage between climate change and forest fires and that it is not just a problem in Belize. Data from the Fire Information for Resource Management System shows that forest fires are affecting the Central American region.


Colin Young

Dr. Colin Young, Executive Director, CCCCC

“I think the forest fire situation in Belize has been getting worse over the years. A few years ago, I was writing about how destructive it is to biodiversity and also to human health, as you saw the particular matter that is in that smoke is absolutely dangerous. And it worsens respiratory issues, it worsens asthma and I think it absolutely is something that the officials need to do a little bit more about. What happens is that because there is the increase in temperature there is less moisture in the soil and in the forest. We are talking about a year after Lisa in which Lisa destroyed a lot of forest. And so there was a lot of dead fuel load sitting on the forest elsewhere and so when people light fires for agricultural uses, those fires spread and there was a lot of fuel load on the forest floors which burned a significant amount of forest. So this is one thing that is directly linked to climate change. It is global warming that is causing increased droughts, causing the soil to dry out, causing fuel load to build up in the forest and then when you have a match, you get a huge fire. So this is not just a Belize problem. If you were look at the FIRMS database for all of Central America, it looks like one red blob where there’s fires burning everywhere and this is only going to become worse and I would hope that there would be some practical solutions that are developed between the entities like the Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Sustainable Development and Climate Change and land owners so that such an issue can be decreased over time.”

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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