Dry spell causes 59 per cent more fires

MONTEGO BAY, St James — The Jamaica Fire Brigade (JFB) is blaming the long dry spell the country has experienced for an almost 60 per cent increase in fires up to the first nine months of this year.

“For the period January to September 2023, the Jamaica Fire Brigade would have responded to a total of 9,973 genuine calls, which represents a 59 per cent increase compared to 2022 where we responded to 6,277,” said Deputy Commissioner in charge of Fire and Rescue Operations Kevin Haughton.

He was speaking with journalists on Monday following the brigade’s National Open Day event held at Montego Bay Fire Station, as part of National Fire Awareness Week.

Haughton said bush fires accounted for most of the calls that the JFB responded to during the period, with 6,026 recorded across the island, compared to 2,993 last year.

He noted that there was also a slight increase in structural fires. “We would have responded to a total of 905, compared to last year where we responded to 831,” Haughton said.

In addition, firefighters were kept busy responding to motor vehicle accidents, even though there was a slight fall in the number of crashes for which their services were required.

The brigade responded to 780 motor vehicle crashes in the first nine months of 2022, which decreased by a 1.3 per cent in the comparative period this year.