GFD: Guam is in dry season and residents should guard against grassfires

A grass fire on Route 4 and Chalan Mapao, Talofofo (PNC file photo)

As the island is currently in “dry season” — which is historically during the months of January to June — residents must be aware of the fire danger the weather conditions pose.

With the dry foliage and high winds being experienced, wildland/grass fires will spread at an alarming speed. Although some cases can be attributed to unauthorized controlled burning that spreads from carelessness or even natural means: the vast majority of large grass fires are caused by the intentional setting by humans.

Grass fires on Guam have caused major damage to property and the environment. but more importantly, injuries to firefighters.

The Guam Fire Department takes grass fires seriously, responding to each and every call. Last week alone, units responded to several large-scale fires in the Southern areas. A majority of these fires are inaccessible to apparatus, and firefighting crews must assess where the head or flanks of the fire will travel to properly intercept and extinguish.

Unfortunately, due to the terrain and remoteness, large areas of land and wildlife
are often consumed before the fire is brought under control. To curb the devastation that wildland fires leave in their wake, the GFD encourages the community to be proactive in the prevention of grass and trash fires.

Some tips for residents to help prevent grassfires and protect your property:

° Check with your nearest fire station for fire danger warnings and outdoor burning regulations
° Discard cigarettes or other lit smoking materials properly
° Report any suspicious activity or witnessed starting of grass fires by calling 911
° Closely tend to all outdoor fires, including BBQ grills
° Clear debris, vegetation, combustibles, and abandoned vehicles at least 30 feet around your home
° Leave your home if the fire or smoke will cause injury or aggravate illness to you or your family members
° Do NOT delay in calling the fire department at the first sign of a fire getting out of control

(GFD Release)