Fines and penalties will soon be imposed on persons who start fires that result in the harm of others or damage to other people’s property.
Chief Fire Officer Zebalon McLean said this will be made possible through a new policy that is already being drafted.
“We have been working on the Control Burning Policy. Once we get that off the ground and we get that through Cabinet and the Legislative [Counsel], there will be fines and other penalties for persons who have been negligent and who have caused great loss,” McLean said.
The Fire Chief explained: “If you have a fire that is started innocently and then it burns off your land and destroys someone’s home, you are directly responsible.”
“If you have a neighbour who suffers from asthma and the smoke from your fire causes that neighbour distress, you are responsible for any bill incurred by that neighbour for their recovery. And if that person dies, you’re also responsible for that,” he added.
Chief McLean said the policy has become necessary because there are persons who do not accept responsibility for the danger or harm they cause to others as it relates to fire.
“You need to have these things in place to ensure that persons, whether by will or force, look out for their neighbour and don’t cause damage to their property or even to himself or herself,” the Chief added.
There has been growing concern about what is being described as a startling increase in local bush fires since the start of the year. McLean told BVI News the territory has recorded an unusually high average of six fires per month since January 2019.
His department continues to urge persons not to partake in any kind of fire-related activities.
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