The voracious forest fire in Pinares de Mayarí, Holguín, has consumed nearly 5,000 hectares of forest and pasture. Started on February 17, the fire continues without control in its sixteenth day and advances consuming the green areas of that province and neighboring Santiago de Cuba.
Also in Holguín, this Saturday a fire of “medium proportions” was reported at the Holplast polyethylene pipe factory, which was controlled before the flames spread inside the plant, according to the authorities. The images published on social networks revealed an intense column of black smoke.
The Government assured that there was no damage in the production area, only combustion in a warehouse and in the air conditioners. The investigation found that the fire started because an “outside agent” smoked at an unspecified location.
The journalist Emilio Rodríguez Pupo, who has followed up on the incident, reported that, until Friday, the fire had damaged 4,932 hectares, of which 3,980 correspond to forests and more than 666 to pastures.
Rodríguez Pupo explained that the authorities have achieved “definitive control” of the Cuchuflí and Casimba areas, but conditions are complex in Vegueta, where 36 members of the Ranger Corps and residents are working to control the fire and recover the wood.
The Cuban authorities assure that the fire “was dealt with early”, but it spread in less than 24 hours due to the strong winds and the abundance of pinus cubensis –Cuban pine–, whose bark is easy to catch fire. The official newspaper cubadebate pointed out on Friday that 2,409 people worked to extinguish the sinister among personnel from the Ranger Corps, Firefighters, the Mayarí Agroforestry Company, the Armed Forces and Aviation.
The latest report from the Department of Fire Management of the Ranger Corps indicates that as of March 1, there were seven active fires on the Island, but the one with the largest proportions was that of Holguín. The authorities also reported two accidents in Pinar del Río, one in Bumba (Santiago de Cuba), another in El Líbano (Guantánamo) and one more in Los Limones (Isla de la Juventud).
The fires coincide with the drought that the Island is facing due to the low rainfall recorded in recent months, which has led to the 88 reservoirs in the country being at a capacity of 54% useful filling. The provinces most affected with the water supply are Pinar del Río, Matanzas, Cienfuegos, Ciego de Ávila, Camagüey, Las Tunas and Granma.
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