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May 17, 2011

Fire from Mountain Pine Ridge creates smog in the districts

Where there is smoke there is fire. The City woke up to a dull haze this morning that drifted across the district.  Residents choked from the odor and the smoke that is coming from forest fires that have been raging in western Belize for weeks.  The heat and the pollution covering the district are unbearable but the good news is that the smoke will disburse in the next few days to cool things down. News Five’s Andrea Polanco reports on the cause of the smoke.

Andrea Polanco, Reporting

This morning city residents woke up to the smell of smoke as a thick blanket settled over the Belize District. The cause of this smoke, the Chief Meteorologist says, is a result of forest fires that have been burning in the Western region of the country:

Dennis Gonguez, Chief Meteorologist

Dennis Gonguez

“We’re seeing smoke from forest fires from western parts of the country, mmm we had land wind last night and earlier this morning that brought all that smoke over the Eastern sections of the country particularly around the Belize City area.”

The forest fires have been spurred by the destruction of acres of caused by Hurricane Richard last year.

Dennis Gonguez

“On these dots here scattered around the country are the locations of fires occurring around the country and we see a concentration of activity around the central sections of the country and I mentioned earlier this was the path of hurricane Richard in that direction so much dead vegetation lies around these areas and as a consequence you will find that there’s a concentration of fire activity in that area. If you look further north much north in the extreme north in the Corozal district we don’t see much activity and extreme south in the Toledo district and even parts of the Stann Creek District we don’t see much activity.”

Andrea Polanco

“Is this something that we’re seeing for the first time in the city or something we haven’t seen this in, for a very a long time in recent years?”

Dennis Gonguez

“We haven’t seen this for quite some time like I said it’s the normal amount for forest fires that we get superimposed on that the effects on hurricane Richard producing the dead vegetation and fuel so it’s a combination of both.”

While forest fires are frequent around this time of the year, the intense dry weather that we’re experiencing also contribute to this problem, but we should see a change in the weather very soon:

Dennis Gonguez

“Although this heat is typical at this time of the year, but however, it adds the flame to the fuel. And the hurricane season is about to start so we will see the heat eventually. Well gradually we’re seeing the moisture levels in the atmosphere are increasing, the relative humidity are increasing so we’re seeing gradually that the rainy season is approaching.”

But, Gonguez says we shouldn’t have to wait for the rainy season to step in because it’s expected that the winds will help to decrease the smoke in a few days:

Dennis Gonguez

“I’m expecting that this smoke, this dense smoke would decrease in the upcoming days. Well as the winds go around to the East and come from off the Caribbean Sea, we’ll see conditions improving, the smoke conditions decreasing and conditions improving.”

Although the smoke hung over the city all day it didn’t block visibility for air traffic or motorists but there are health implications. Reporting for News Five, I’m Andrea Polanco.

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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16 Responses for “Fire from Mountain Pine Ridge creates smog in the districts”

  1. Concerned says:

    It’s very interesting that the smoke affecting residents didnt make the news till it affected people in Belize City. Well it’s been affecting Belmopan for the past 6 weeks!!!!!!!!!!!! BElize City gets a little taste and it’s news!!!! wow!!!

  2. simone hunt says:

    Why it is that this finally making the news now that the smoke has reached Belize City? What about the fact that here in the Belmopan area (and in many other parts of the country) we have been choking for weeks? This is not only due to the Mountain Pine Ridge of hurricane Richard. Half the countryside is gong up in smoke. The ‘slash and burn’ culture has gotten out of control. Most of this is man-made. Stop blaming it on nature. We see people start these fires. Start controlling them, for heaven’s sake. And great news for BC that the wind will start blowing East again, but terrible news for us.

  3. 459 says:

    Are people in BELIZE CITY worth more than people in west? “Well as the winds go around to the East and come from off the Caribbean Sea, we’ll see conditions improving, the smoke conditions decreasing and conditions improving.” This is in no way an improvement. In Cayo District visibility is very very poor. I checked with the Fire Department and they say it cost to much to out the fire. What cost more out the fire or all medical bills from smoke inhalation?

  4. Last Chance says:

    It looks like belize city folks sure can complain. Geez, imagine if BC would have been the one to suffer like we here in the cayo district? Probably would have opened shelters on the islands.
    Come to Belmopan right now. Right right now we are choking and coughing, can’t even see our neighbour. But congrats BC, you’ll be able to breathe soon.

  5. Concerned citizen says:

    The smoke in Belmopan area has gotten so bad that is has started affecting our breathing! Six weeks of this stuff will definitely have health implications on us. I really hope the weather changes come sooner than later.

  6. bina says:

    very well said “Concerned”. we have been suffering from smoke for weeks now.

  7. San Ignacio Resident says:

    I have to agree with all the comments. Only when it start affecting the city it becomes news. You should see the condition we have been in for the past weeks. San Ignacio has been full of smoke for the past couple days. Visibility is extremely poor and last night was just terrible cause not even the moon was visible! Belize is not only Belize city… but the entire rest of nation as well.

  8. jer says:

    lets not be quibbering about d news now making the airwaves because it just reached belize city. see the two news companies are located in d old capital. If Pan no mek noise bout d smoke problem there, Jules and dem woudda neva go dere. But its at home where dey are at. Anyhow d real ting i want to draw our attention to is dis — Do you all out there realize its getting hotter n hotter each year? Everybody and i mean everybody now groanin bout dis heat. My house da like oven da nite. Do you all realize d damages dis forest fires are making? If d forest breathe in carbon dioxide n gives off oxygen n dey are now being destroyed….. do d math. N its not only Belize, its d world over where d forest are going up in flames. People say climate change. Some ridicule the idea of climate change. Well i want to say its d Bible coming to pass. All that is in d Bible is jumping out right at us dese days. Dis heat business is in Isaiah 30:25-27. Curious? Go read it. See u Later

  9. Kay says:

    Sincerest apologies to the peoples out west. I must admit I was completely ignorant to your suffering. This is what happens when the news medias don’t deliver information on matters affecting the rest of the districts. Of late it seems that if it isn’t a murder it is not news worthy and that is disappointing on the media’s part because if something is affecting people whether it be man-made or natural it should make the news. These fires are wreaking havoc on peoples health and the country should have known the gravity of the situation…period!

  10. Sugar says:

    Have been saying that BC people think the world revolves around them. Thats because GOB makes them feel that way…..see how much money being spent to “save” southside…..

  11. Bz says:

    I live in Belize City, I keep hearing you all talk about this place called Belmopan. Not sure what you are talking about, everywhere else but Belize City is bush, you all should be use to it by now. Not sure why you peasants complain so much!

  12. belizean says:

    People should “Open there eyes” (no pun intended) to the fact that the fires are being lit by others. Yes richard hit central Belize hard and everything is broken down but a fire usually doesnt start on its own. Time and time again we see people lighting fires on the side of the highway. Just so people know the fires have moved as far as the Belize River from the Highway and as far as the Sibun River from the highway aswell. And yes things dont make news unless it affects the old capital, what a shame. To add to this the mountain pine ridge is indeed burning. So folks in Belize City suck it up and be aware that its not only you in the boat. And if rumors say the smoke is only from the pine ridge its wrong! even worse if they say its from Peten caz its a blatant lie!!! Belizeans… are burning your country…wake up!!!!



  14. Hey says:

    Well, up here North (Corozal Town), every day at around 2:00 a.m. and 6:00a.m. there is smoke. Honestly i don’t know where it comes from. But it’s every day between these hours. It wakes up my family cause it gets to you and start coughing. I called Fire station, Ministry of Health and no one can go out and find out and do something about it. Gosh!!!!! It’s horrible. All the clothes smells of smoke…….it’s frustrating, but as others have said above, when belize city ppl complain then yes everyone jumps up to help….Corozal has always been left to the bottom of the list and not been paid attention to….

  15. oursecretsburdenus says:

    i have to agree wit ‘’ ….smoke makes news in belmopan!!! the rainy season will be here soon and the complaints will be different…too much water perhaps!!

  16. spanglish says:

    maybe dah the zetas di smoke we up so we get addicted to dem drugs, don’t you think so? I mean the entire country is in smoke, unless somebody the obheah us, or smoking them puro over our pictures. hmm or maybe we are already in hell.

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