Spot image of the damage due to fire in Airai (Source: MOJ official)

The damage to environment took place when fire broke out in Airai next to Palau National Communication Corporation on Friday and went on till Saturday afternoon.

The firefighting team had to dig the ground and cut the trees to extinguish the fire.

According to a source in the Ministry of Justice (MOJ), the fire was about 400-500m away from the road because of which the firefighters had parked the water truck and walked into the forest to kill the fire

The MOJ source said, “Because the fire truck couldn’t go to the location, they dig the ground and cut the trees to make sure the fire does not spread further. It is a fire fighting tactic to cut the trees and use trees to kill the fire”

Even though the incident is still under investigation, the source revealed that the fire was most likely because of the people.

“There were no casualties or structural damage.” the source added.

Fire was assumed to be doused by 4:30pm on Friday and had to be responded again on Saturday morning. The fire was extinguished by 6PM on Saturday.

The MOJ source also said that the Saturday fire was moving towards the Blue Bay Gas Station and the fire department chief had to call firefighters who were off duty to douse the fire.

The source revealed that on Friday there was another forest fire that broke out in Aimelik which was also most likely because of the people.

Initially there was one fire truck that responded to Airai and one fire truck that responded to Aimelik but as the one in Airai needed more assistance, the team in Aimelik as well assisted in fighting the Airai fire.

In the aftermath of the incident, the Bureau of Public Safety has issued a public announcement urging the people to take caution when setting up any fire. It has also urged people to obtain open burning permit from Environmental Quality Protection Board (EQPB) prior to setting any fire. (Eshan Kalyanikar)