photo contributed by Richard Brooks

Fires across Babeldaob States reported over the weekend are now under investigation by the Bureau of Public Safety.

Godwin Philip, Chief of the Fire and Rescue Bureau said the police are looking into possible arson as cause of the fires that were burning along Babeldaob.

“Yes, we are currently investigating suspected fire arson that has been occurring around Koksai and Babeldaob for about a week since last weekend. We don’t have any leads right now and are currently trying to work with the state governors and their rangers to provide security around the compact road and keep watching of anything suspicious” Mr.Philip said.

The suspicion of arson as cause of the fires was brought up during a Palau Wave Radio talk show by Ebiil Society and special guests Ms. Surech Bells, Community Fishery Coordinator of Ebiil Society and Lieutenant Malsol Nobuo Division of Fire & Rescue, MOJ and Ms. Jennifer Ngiraiwet, PAN Coordinator of Ongedechuul System Conservation Areas, Mr. Omar Faustino, Program Manager of Melekeok Conservation Network and Ms. Ilima Kloulchad,Ebiil Forestry Field Work Supervisor, on April 2.

“Please me le stob”  (please let them stop) Mr. Faustino added that  there has been an increase in numbers of arson fires and poaching.

He encourages anyone who sees anything suspicious or knows anyone who is deliberately setting fires to report.

“There has been an increase in arson caused fires and we want the community to work with the police, Pan site officers and even rangers in states all over, to report anyone starting fires, poaching or if they suspiciously seem so.”

Fires pose threats to homes and properties but also destroys wildlife habitats and wildlife itself.

High danger of fire usually occurs during the dry season which is from February to April in Palau.

Announcement from the Bureau of Public Safety issued yesterday gave warning of setting fires without proper permit.  The announcement also offers reward of $1,000 to anyone reporting people setting fires illegally.  Reward is subject to outcome of investigations.