St Mary residents feel heat from bush fires
Last Friday marked the official start of summer, and the residents of Hartland Road in Windsor Castle, St Mary, definitely felt the heat as their community was the host of at least three separate bush fires that blazed simultaneously.
Fortunately, no homes were lost in the blazes, but crops were destroyed as the residents stood almost helplessly staring at the fires that gained strength with the winds.
"Is five years now this a happen. During the summer when the children should be playing, we have to be stocking up on medication because we know that there is going to be a whole lot of bush fires. As you can see, sometimes is bush we have to use to beat the fire, and that don't really help much. No water has been in the community for months now. Most of us have to buy water, and what we have in our tanks cannot do much to the fires, as everyone can see," one woman said.
As firefighters from the Port Maria Fire Station tried feverishly to control one of the fires that was going towards a board structure, they were informed of two other fires in the community.
According to one of the firemen, they could have got to the locations much earlier had there been better roads leading to the community. The STAR team saw first-hand how difficult it was was for the firefighters as they skipped through the massive potholes to get to their destination. What should have been about a 20-minute drive took almost an hour for the emergency crew.
"From yesterday (Thursday), the firefighters have been very busy. The time is extremely hot, so it takes nothing for a fire to get started. We are coming all the way from Port Maria because the firefighters at Annotto Bay are busy trying to contain and put out a next fire in another part of the parish," a fireman said.
Like the residents, the fireman said that he is deeply concerned about the water issues in sections of parish, stating that the unavailability of the precious commodity has put a damper on the effectiveness of their work.
"Sadly, if we ever run out of water, if there was not a river where we can pump from, we will have to go back to fill up at the nearest water hydrant, which may be in Annotto Bay. And by the time we get back, the damage can be really worse," he said.
Another resident claimed that on more than one occasion, he has had to flee his home out of fear that it was going to burn to the ground. He said that he is imploring the relevant authorities to regulate their water supply.
"A whole heap a time the farmers dem lose dem crops and animals. Sometimes is an entire coop a fowl get roasted, and is not like dem can eat. The place hot bad, so imagine having fire after fire. Once yuh live near a cane piece or any bushy area, you all fraid to sleep in the daytime cause no one nuh wah wake up inna hell. Mi know drought deh everywhere, but mi just want some water inna the pipes dem," he said.