Forest fire in Pinares de Mayarí forces evacuation of more than 100 people


HAVANA, March 2nd. A Large forest fire that has been active for eleven days in Pinares de Mayarí, Holguín, has devoured more than 3,600 hectares of forests and forced the evacuation of more than 100 people in the Pinalito and 21 de Abril People’s Councils, according to the official newspaper Granma.

The evacuees live in the Mella municipality, threatened by the proximity of the fire, which could spread from the mountainous area of Pinares de Mayarí to that territory, from the adjoining Santiago de Cuba.

The vice president of the Defense Council in Mella, Germán Fajardo, had communicated that “the flames are not in Santiago de Cuba,” but considered that the situation created by the fire is “complex,” although work is being done to prevent its spread, according to a quote the Agencia Cubana de Noticias (ACN) news agency.

He also indicated that the transfer of all people with respiratory conditions will continue due to the effects of the smoke. About a thousand people from Santiago had mobilized this Tuesday to fight the fire, according to ACN.

Journalist Emilio Rodríguez posted updates from his Facebook account that the fire already involves the areas of Pinares de Mayarí, Mella and San Luis. More than 3,600 hectares are damaged.

This forest fire originated as a consequence of the strong drought affecting the country, the speed of the winds, the dispersion of the sources and the irregularities of the terrain, according to reports from the Forest Ranger Corps (CGB).

Personnel from the fire brigades and rangers, agroforestry companies, the Armed Forces and other forces such as radio amateurs, health professionals and the Red Cross are fighting the fire that has affected the habitat of valuable native flora and fauna species.

The critical period for forest fires on the island runs from January 1 to May 31, coinciding with the driest season.

For this year, according to official estimates, 320 to 445 forest fires are expected, which could damage 4,300 to 6,000 hectares in the period from January to next May. Only the current fire in Pinares de Mayarí comes close to this estimated figure.