Fire roads help in Guam’s fight against increasingly common man-made fires

by Mar 24, 2022Guam0 comments

Man-made fires are a common occurrence around the world and Guam is no exception. While most of these fires originate by accident or with little ill-intention and start off small, these fires can rapidly grow into irreversible mistakes. For example, in California, a couple started the El Dorado Fire after they held a gender-reveal party in one of the California State Parks. Their gender-reveal device malfunctioned, causing a fire that soon destroyed 22,724 acres of land. While not all man-made fires are this extreme, they are still harmful and can be fatal.

In Guam, many of the fires started are caused by hunters trying to expose their prey while others are the byproduct of human error. Sometimes, farmers will burn the land around them to clear it. While all these activities happen often, they are illegal and can result in felony offenses; however, this is often ignored and fires are still intentionally ignited. As such, Guam’s firefighters have worked tirelessly these past few weeks to fight several grass fires. Recently, a man started a trash fire in his backyard, which got away from him and burned 100-150 acres of land in the Santa Rita area.

This fire was contained with the help of estate developer, Henry Simpson. He constructed fire roads, a type of road that creates breaks in foliage to prevent the fire from spreading and provide access for the firefighters to reach and douse the fire, on his estates in the Santa Rita area. Alongside the construction of fire roads, Simpson has planted more than 14,000 trees through Guam’s Department of Agriculture’s Forest Stewardship Program to replace the lost trees and prevent future fires. The combination of fire roads and trees can help prevent fires from spreading as they create breaks in foliage and choke out the grass that fuel grass fires. While it is hard to stop people from illegally starting fires, helpful ideas that are properly maintained, such as Simpson’s ideas, can help combat this ignorance.