Dominican Republic asks countries’ help to quell major forest fire
Santo Domingo.- The Environment Ministry said Monday it requested international assistance to quell the blaze affecting a national park near the highland town of Constanza since Friday.
In a press conference Environment minister Bautista Rojas said the crews now fight the fire at two fronts, one near La Cuevita with trenches and at Misaito, whose rugged terrain has slowed the advance of around 200 firefighters.
"We’re making contact with friendly governments, unfortunately not with Colombia because it has a fire worse than ours," the official said, but noted that “we’ve already coordinated with the United States the deployment some type of aircraft ion if necessary."
Rojas said several local government agencies coordinate the effort against the fire, and with the support of volunteers from Constanza, where 40 additional crews of firefighters from the region had arrived Monday morning, prior to reaching the command center at Valle Nuevo National Park.
"We have five pieces of equipment; three front-end loaders and two bulldozers,” Rojas said, adding that Army troops and a tanker plane, and two helicopters, including one from the Air Force will start flights from Constanza’s airport Monday noon.
Local reports say the fire has charred nearly 1,300 hectares of mostly pine forests.