Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman has assured that the ongoing wildfires in the Amazon rainforest, though troubling, will have no direct impact on Guyana.
The minister told journalists recently that the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC) has increased its monitoring of this country’s forest.
“As a government, of course, we are concerned. The Forestry Commission will be monitoring our own forest to ensure we don’t have any similar occurrences. We are in the throes of an extended wet season so that may have helped us here in Guyana,” Trotman was quoted as saying by government’s Department of Public Information.
With support from Norway, Guyana has been able to access satellite coverage of its rainforest. This monitoring, he said, will make it possible for officials to spot anything that could cause concern.
According to Minister Trotman, forest fires occur naturally from time to time, but the scale of what has been happening in Brazil leaves a trail of concern. He said any government, including those within the Amazonian region, should be very concerned since whatever conditions led to those fires could happen anywhere.
“At this time, we don’t see any direct impact. At present, with what we are seeing, we are somewhat alarmed and like everyone else, we empathise with the people there and will be giving all the support we can.”
“We all should be concerned, we all should extend our support to the government of Brazil, to ensure that those fires are brought under control,” he added.
Earlier this month, Brazil declared a state of emergency over the rising number of fires in the region. So far, this year, more than 80,000 fires in the country have been detected by Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE).
At last weekend’s G7 Summit meeting in France, international leaders pledged to provide logistical and financial support to help fight fires in the Amazon rainforest. Leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the US, agreed on a US$20 million aid package to fight the fires.
Forest fires are common in the Amazon during the dry season, which runs from July to October. These can be caused by naturally occurring events, such as lightning, but also by farmers and loggers clearing land for crops or grazing.