Bush fire index to be ready in a few months

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

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DIRECTOR of the Meteorological Service of Jamaica (Met Office), Evan Thompson, says the index being developed by the agency to predict bush fires should be ready within the next few months.

“We are working on it,” he said, noting that the index will determine the areas where bush fires are likely to occur, so that the Jamaica Fire Brigade (JFB) and other relevant stakeholders can begin monitoring.

Thompson noted that communities can also be mobilised to provide support to curb any potential fires.

He was addressing a recent climate change colloquium at the Knockalva Polytechnic College in Hanover.

Thompson said that the Met Office is also looking at lightning detection.

“We have started to have conversations with a lot of partners who have interest in detecting and monitoring lightning activities and being able to act before, so as to make sure that we don't suffer because of lightning storms,” he said.

“So, we have been pressing forward with that. Those discussions are to move into another project shortly,” he added.

Other initiatives of the Met Office include installing new radar to improve climate data and information management. The project is expected to be carried out next year in partnership with the World Bank.

Thompson said Jamaica needs to be cognisant of climate change and its impact as well as the opportunities that it brings.

“I hope that persons are taking stock of the…evidence of climate change taking place and doing what you can do to make sure that you can survive,” he said.

The colloquium discussed topical issues surrounding climate change, and what the Government and its agencies are doing to enable Jamaica to adapt.

The event featured panellists from the National Environment and Planning Agency; Rural Agricultural Development Authority; The University of the West Indies; and the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, among others.

— JIS


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