The heat is on and according to many; the temperature we are experiencing in Belize is unlike that in previous years. With the scourging heat though, come threats of fires, much like the one that the Orange Walk Fire Department officials, monitored this afternoon along the Phillip Goldson Highway. Dalila Ical has more on what could have been a catastrophic incident.

Screen_Shot_2014-04-07_at_8.39.24_PMDalila Ical- Reporting

Thick smoke hovered over the Phillip Goldson Highway by Z Gas Belize. The overgrown lot was engulfed in flames. The fire ignited around two thirty this afternoon behind the butane plant.

Daniel Chan – Plant Operator

“They advised us to call the fire station and we called them then the fire went wild and it was going in two directions. The employees deemed it wise to call the Fire Department, and two fire fighters responded quickly and thankfully so. One of them was Miguel Medina, Second in charge at the Orange Walk Fire Station.

Miguel Medina – Second in charge, OW Fire Station

“The fire was threatening the house over the next side so we focused on that house first to out the fire and then we started to focus on Zeta Gas which has a very dangerous material if it catches fire. We managed to control over here and now we are waiting for the fire to spread over that side and then maybe we will be able to catch it over that side and it will be easier for us to fight the blaze.”

The wind was strong only compounding the situation. The firefighters remained vigilant however, taking all necessary precautions to avoid what could have been a momentous disaster. What helped though is that those at the butane plant had taken prior precautionary steps.

Daniel Chan – Plant Operator

“We just had like two days since we finish cutting the fire path so it came in handy, really handy.”

The danger loomed for about an hour and the firefighters remained there until the establishment was in the clear.


Miguel Medina – Second in charge OW Fire Station

“We still have some hot ashes that are being blown by the breeze but until we out the fire completely then we can say that Zeta Gas is clear because gas can ignite from far distance and flash back to the main depot.”

Daniel Chan – Plant Operator

“We just the wait for that piece to dose off and then we will go back to normal working and normal sales.”

The cause of the fire is uncertain but Medina gives some sound advice to the general public on avoiding wild fires.


Miguel Medina – Second in charge OW Fire Station

“When people want to do this the need to inform us so we can come to the area and find out what are the dangers the vicinity faces and we can recommend precautionary measures that can be taken before the bush fire is ignited so we can be ready and stand by before the fire gets out of control and causes destruction.”

International reports indicate that one of the clearest impacts of climate change is on temperatures and we are already seeing that in many parts of the world. January was the hottest month on record in parts of Brazil including its biggest city, São Paulo. With Australia's 2014 summer breaks, 156 heat records with climate change, and with a record-breaking warm spring in parts of Siberia, experts are warning that 2014 could be an epic year for forest fires in that part of the globe. 

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