Fire ravages Lethem ranch

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…wildlife other animals killed

Several acres of the Waikin Ranch at Lethem, Region Nine (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo), were destroyed by a raging fire this week, which blazed for almost three days before it could be contained.

The ranch has boundaries from the main Rupununi trail, the Ireng River, the Brazil border and the west and Pirara River. It covers almost 33,000 acres of mostly rolling savannah plains and is a sanctuary to hundreds of wildlife.

Inews understands that the fire started on Wednesday and is suspected to be arson. It was finally contained due to the combined efforts of several individuals in the area.

However, the aftermath saw a saddened scene with burnt trees and the carcasses of turtles, snakes, armadillos and mammals which could not survive the inferno or escape.

Some animals such as monkeys managed to climb to higher grounds and were saved.

On social media, officials at the ranch expressed distress at the long-term effect of this environmental disaster and reached out for donations of seedlings to replant the savannah. These trees will be replanted during the rainy season.

During this dry season, there have been many bushfires which have also claimed the lives of animals. Earlier this month, the Guyana Fire Service had issued a warning to the public to desist from lighting fires in open spaces. These fires have been prevailing as often as 18 times daily over the past three months.

Fire Prevention Officer, Andrew Holder had said, “We are cognisant of the fact that we are experiencing currently a prolonged dry weather spell, however, not all of these bush fires can be attributed to the hot weather conditions…It is a prohibition, a complete no no and perpetrators will find themselves before the court…we are experiencing an unusual dry weather spell and as such, lighting fires in open spaces has severe consequences.

Consequently, we are imploring citizens to desist forthwith from lighting fires in open spaces”.

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