Andros fire rages on

By KEILE CAMPBELL

kcampbell@tribunemedia.net

FIRE services continued to manage the massive Andros forest fire after additional fire fighters from New Providence arrived on the island to assist.

While the fire was said to be largely contained, officials expressed concern on Friday that the fire could flare up again over the weekend if it did not rain.

According to Chief Superintendent Bradbary Styles, officer in charge of the Andros district, firefighters are monitoring and extinguishing the blaze in areas that are accessible. Mr Styles explained that forest fires that have burned for several days will run their course until they burn out.

He added that this forest fire is contained in the settlements near San Andros and Nicholls Town.

When asked how communication with residents has been, Mr Styles said: “Residents have continued to contact the station and/or the volunteer firefighters to report where they see the fire coming close to either their properties or their businesses and they’re assisting by giving us that information. We proceed there either with the fire truck and/or heavy equipment operators who would create what is called a ‘fire breach’ around that particular property.”

Andros Chamber of Commerce President Darrin Bethel told The Tribune by a messaging app that the fire is under control, thanks to a collected effort, including the assistance of firefighters from New Providence.

Mr Bethel expressed gratitude to the community of North Andros and volunteers working independently as well as firefighters for bringing the forest fire under control.

He estimated that 80 per cent of the fire is contained; however, Mr Bethel said smoke still remains in some areas and there are concerns that a blaze may re-erupt. Mr Bethel said that they are working shifts around the clock

San Andros resident James Storr said he’s seen much improvement in firefighting efforts on Friday, describing the situation as “in good standing”, with smoke subsiding “greatly” since Thursday.

North Andros and Berry Islands Member of Parliament (MP) Leonardo Lightbourne explained that wild fires are a legacy issue, describing this most recent fire as “one of the largest they’ve seen in a long time”.

Residents said that the North Andros and Berry Islands MP Lightbourne was present on the island assisting with the management of firefighting efforts and providing meals in support.