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Last updateSat, 19 Jan 2019 12am







    Friday, January 18, 2019-12:12:25A.M.






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DFEMS warns public about dry season grass fires

AS the islands’ dry season parches up fields, adds gusts of wind, and the likelihood of fire spreading fast is high.

The Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services responded to grass fires that quickly spread in San Roque and Tanapag Monday afternoon.

No persons were injured and no treatment was provided at the scene for medical complaints in relation to the grass fires at the two villages, according to Derek Gersonde, DFEMS public information officer.

He said that the causes for both grass fire incidents are undetermined and are being investigated.

Gersonde said on Monday at 1:25 pm, a member of the school staff reported a grass fire near Gregorio T. Camacho Elementary school in San Roque.

At 1:26 pm, Forestry-1 from the Susupe Fire Station responded. The firefighters were able to extinguish the fire at 3:27 pm.

At 4:45 pm, Gersonde said, another male caller who lives nearby reported a grass fire in the same location.

At 4:47pm, Forestry-1 from the Susupe Fire Station and Engine-2 from the Garapan Fire Station responded to the location.

The firefighters were able to fully extinguish the fire at 6:40 pm, he said.

Gersonde said the fire had burned about half of an acre and DFEMS used 1750 gallons of water for the operation at the San Roque grassfire.

The cause of the first fire is undetermined and the second fire in the same San Roque location was a result of re-light or re-kindle of the first fire, added Gersonde.

The grass fire at the Tanapag cemetery was reported by an unidentified caller to DFEMS at 6:44 pm, said Gersonde.

Forestry-1 from the Susupe Fire Station responded to the location arriving at 6:48 pm and firefighters were able to contain the fire at 6:57 pm and fully extinguish it at 7:16 pm he added.

The fire, said the DFEMS PIO, had burned about quarter of an acre and DFEMS used 250 gallons of water for the operation.

CNMI’s dry season has begun, added Gersonde.

The Department of Fire and EMS would like to remind everyone that the best way to battle grass fires is to prevent it from ever starting.  

DFEMS hopes these tips will help people stay alert to this dreadful, recurring problem.

• Do not throw cigarette or cigar butts on the ground or out of a vehicle.

• Do not burn trash, leaves, or brush outdoors without proper supervision.

• Employ the 30-foot “safety zone” surrounding the home. Clear away loose grass, leaves, etc. away from the home, especially those living in a woodland area.

• If not using a storage shed to store your firewood, make sure it is stacked at least 20-feet away from your house.

• Rake leaves, cut off dead limbs, and cut grass regularly. Remove dead branches that extend over the roof.

• Avoid parking cars, trucks or recreational vehicles on dry grass or brush. Exhaust systems on vehicles can reach a temperature of more than 1,000 degrees; it only takes about 500 degrees to start a brush fire in the summer.

• Maintain a 10-foot area that is free of brush and shrubbery around BBQ grills and propane tanks. Do not leave a grill unattended, and when finished, place ashes in a bucket and soak in water until completely cooled. Keep a shovel, bucket of water, fire extinguisher, or other fire suppression tools on hand in case of emergency.

• Stress to children the importance of not playing with fire–especially in grassy areas, fire can spread quickly and children need to be informed of the potential threat.

For more information, please call The Department of Fire and EMS at 664-9004/3 or visit us at any of the DFEMS Stations.