EE fire may be out

The fire that had threatened the Salinas Reserve in East End may be out.

Officers from the Department of Environment and firefighters from the Frank Sound station went separately into the interior yesterday and reported no signs of any continued burning.

Mrs. Gina Ebanks-Petrie, director of the Department of Environment, said two DoE enforcement officers went to the area in the vicinity of a major farm, and reported seeing no smoke at all.

Three or four plane loads of water were dumped on the forest to the south and east of the Reserve on Tuesday, she said. Then there was heavy rainfall that night.

That combination plus observations from ground level led her to hope that the fire may be out.

Acting Chief Fire Officer Roy Grant said he sent a team to the area on Tuesday evening and it was raining at the time. On Wednesday, shortly after noon, he sent another team. They reported back that the ground was wet, so there was a possibility the fire could be out.

The only way to know for sure will be to observe from the air, Mr. Grant said. Meanwhile, the Fire Department will continue to monitor the situation.

The plane loads of water Mrs. Ebanks-Petrie referred to were carried by the Mosquito Research and Control Unit spray plane, which first saw duty as a fire fighter on Monday with pilot Richard Clough (see yesterday’s Caymanian Compass).

The fire, in the interior of the island, was never a danger to houses, Mr. Grant stressed earlier. There was concern, however, that it could have threatened the Salinas Reserve, which is home to numerous species of native wildlife, including the Cayman Blue Iguana.

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