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Jamaica now has a bush fire warning index and management system

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Jamaica’s climate and disaster resilience capacities have been strengthened with the development of a Bush Fire Warning Index and Management System.

The digital platform, initiated by the Meteorological Service Division in tandem with the Jamaica Fire Brigade, is expected to improve stakeholder capability to monitor developments relating to bush fires.

It will utilize rainfall, temperature, soil type, and land use data to determine the risk of fire in targeted areas.

The facility was recently launched virtually by newly appointed Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Matthew Samuda. 

In his remarks, Samuda noted that the digital platform was implemented under the Met Service’s Building Resilience through Climate Adaptation Technologies Project.

“This project also includes the monitoring of pilot sites in parishes prone to wildfires, use of a common alerting protocol, and a public awareness and education campaign that has been named Jamaica Against Bush Fires (JAB),” he said.

Samuda emphasized that “these interventions are pivotal to our efforts to become climate-resilient and convert scientific knowledge into practical guidance for climate-sensitive sectors, such as agriculture, water, health, and disaster mitigation.”

He added that climate change remains a “real and present danger,” requiring critical and urgent action to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

Meanwhile, Acting Deputy Director-General of the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM), Michelle Edwards, in welcoming the system, noted that the threat of bush fires islandwide is real, as Jamaica like other Caribbean countries continues to experience longer dry periods each year.

“They affect communities [and] agricultural areas. The Met Service and the Jamaica Fire Brigade have taken another step and achieved another milestone, in strengthening our disaster resilience,” she noted.

Williams said the digital platform will provide the necessary information to update communities and emergency responders on the threat of fires.

CMC/

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