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NEMA sends fire tanker to assist in Andros fire

FIREFIGHTERS in North Andros are keeping a close watch on a large forest fire that erupted on the island last week, producing large plumes of thick, black smoke over surrounding communities.

FIREFIGHTERS in North Andros are keeping a close watch on a large forest fire that erupted on the island last week, producing large plumes of thick, black smoke over surrounding communities.

By LEANDRA ROLLE

Tribune Chief Reporter

lrolle@tribunemedia.net

A 2,000-GALLON fire tanker is expected to arrive in North Andros today to help contain a forest fire that has kept the community on high alert.

National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) director Captain Stephen Russell said the additional truck would increase efficiency in fighting the raging fire amid concerns about water supply and access.

“Even though they have a fire unit, they could only take so much at a time,” he said.

Mr Russell said he contacted several shipping companies for help after learning that a Royal Bahamas Defence Force vessel was on a mission in the southern Bahamas.

North Andros residents have implored the government to send more resources to the island, claiming the fire is out of control.

Some have had to leave their homes due to health concerns, while others were taking shifts watching the blaze.

Long-time resident James Storr said the situation had not improved up to press time yesterday.

“What’s happening is plenty Androsians over the last few days haven’t catch more sleep,” he said. “They’re watching their house and some watching their building or apartments. It’s like we’re doing shifts, people rotating to help watch the fire.”

Captain Russell said a team from New Providence was sent to the island yesterday to begin assessments and determine how best to prevent spread.

With the fire mostly contained to the forest, he said firefighters would concentrate on surrounding areas that may be affected.

North Andros MP Leonardo Lightbourne said forest fires are a legacy issue that have plagued the

island for decades.

“In this regard, the stakeholders are committed to ensuring that lives are not lost and homes and businesses remain safe,” he said in a press statement yesterday.

Chief meteorological officer Kaylinda Ward-Forbes said forest fires are not unusual around this “dry period”.

She could not confirm reports that the fire affected air quality in South Florida.

“The surface winds are really from the southeast, so that would be pushing the smoke northwestwards from Andros towards the Bimini and South Florida area,” she said.

“Fire is burning in the Everglades as well, but we have footage of a webcam that is at the dock and the port in Bimini Bay and the skies are very hazy.”

She said she has not received complaints about low visibility from pilots because of the smoke.

“It’s not to the point where it would inhibit any aircraft,” she said. “We haven’t heard anything from Air Traffic Control or from any of the pilots.”

Comments

ThisIsOurs 2 months, 1 week ago

"could not confirm reports that the fire affected air quality in South Florida"

Call Guardian radio it was on their 4 or 5PM news

stillwaters 2 months, 1 week ago

Well, it's reached Nassau for sure this morning.

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