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Left to Right: Mr. Stewart Beckford, Commissioner, Jamaica Fire Brigade; Prof. Dale Webber, Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Principal, The UWI, Mona; Senator the Hon. Matthew Samuda, Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation; Mr. Evan Thompson, Director, Meteorological Service Jamaica.
World Meteorological Day was celebrated on March 23, 2022 under the theme “Early Warning and Early Action: Hydrometeorological and Climate Information for Disaster Risk Reduction”. The Meteorological Service in partnership with The UWI Department of Physics hosted a launch of the Jamaica Bush Fire Warning Index at The UWI Undercroft. The index forecasts the potential or risk of fire outbreaks in Jamaica in an attempt to mitigate the negative impacts associated with these events. The launch keynote address was given by Senator the Hon. Matthew Samuda, Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation with responsibility for Water, Environment and Climate Change. Minister Matthew Samuda also launched the index. Other partners in the initiative include the Jamaica Fire Brigade, the Forestry Department, the National Environment and Planning Agency, the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management and the Rural Agricultural Development Authority.
The term ‘bush fire’ generally refers to an uncontrolled fire in bushlands and can be started naturally through lightning strikes or by an individual. In Jamaica, the number of bush fires has been increasing and to that end the Meteorological Service Jamaica and the Jamaica Fire Brigade have partnered to characterize the conditions required for initiation of bush fires. The Bush Fire Warning Index is a Geographic Information System (GIS) driven instrument that combines meteorological data with Physics to determine the areas in the country at risk of bush fires. This index will be made available to the public. The project also includes an education and awareness campaign called “JAB: Jamaicans Against Bushfires”.
For more about the project visit http://metservice.gov.jm/
Visual representation of the warning initiated by the index will be available in a few weeks at https://alert.metservice.gov.jm/