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Fourteen coercive measures and 19 arrest warrants issued in relation to forest fires

SANTO DOMINGO. Fourteen coercive measures and 19 arrest warrants have been issued by different courts against an equal number of persons against which the Attorney General of the Republic has filed charges of intentionally causing forest fires.

The information was offered by the director of the Specialized Prosecutor for the Environment and Natural Resources, Francia Calderon, who said that of the 14 coercive measures, one corresponds to La Vega for the fire on Loma Miranda and consists of three months of preventive custody.

At the same time in Pedernales 30 day sentences of preventive custody were ordered for two defendants accused of causing forest fires in the area.

Calderon recalled that last week in San Jose de Ocoa another two persons were sent to jail on similar charges.

“We are going to appoint a group from the Justice Department, together with the ordinary courts that can carry out functions which are similar to what we need, in order for us to achieve better results in the investigations.”

Calderon assured reporters that on Thursday several persons who have been reported to be associated with causing the fires will be interrogated.

A warning

In the meantime, the Ministry of Environment warned yesterday “that it will not permit under any circumstances” the farming of areas in the forest lands affected by the latest forest fires in different parts of the national territory.

In a press release, Minister Bautista Rojas Gomez, reported that those areas are subject to a special recovery program when the rainy season begins.

“Every part of this Ministry will remain on alert in order to avoid that any of the forest area of those affected by the recent forest fires are prepared for farming or activities related to slash and burn agriculture,” said the official.

He explained that this order was issued in a letter to all of the provincial directors, to whom he also instructed to be on alert for any environmental crime which might happen in order to process them before the Special Prosecutor for the Environment.

He indicated that the reforestation plan will cover areas affected, such as Loma Miranda, Los Haitises, the Sierra of Neiba, Martin Garcia, Dajabon, Santiago Rodriguez and Constanza among other areas.


The Academy of Sciences observed the problem of the fires with some worry. The president of the entity, Milciades Mejia, said that it is not acceptable that year after year (the Ministry of) the Environment allows a series of fires in areas such as Valle Nuevo in Constanza.

He says that the country should have a well defined policy, through which, the Ministry of the Environment and the Armed the Forces prepare a cordon of vigilance in the vulnerable areas. “We must revise ourselves, the country has to revise itself and this has to become a state policy, that we cannot become so given to such great damages when minor questions occur,” he underlined.

Mejia argued for greater resources to be assigned to the Ministry of the Environment, and he said that he felt that at this time the country should be better equipped to deal with these fires, which occur year after year. He stressed that the forests that were affected will take years to recover, but will never return to their original state.

He announced that the Academy will issue a document regarding this problem, with suggestions for the government.

An alert over the fires of the last three years

Senators Euclides Sanchez (La Vega) and Adriano Sanchez Roa (Elias Piña) proposed a resolution yesterday which declares the country and a State of Environmental Emergency due to the forest fires which occurred in different points of the country and inattention to the losses of forest cover because of the burning of trees in the last three years.

The Senators warn that in the summers of 2012 and 2013 forest fires devastated some 44.98 km² of forest cover; while in 2014 the fire which occurred in the Scientific Reserve of Valle Nuevo or the Bautista Perez Rancier National Park destroyed 47.5 km², which adds up to more than 90 km² in the last three years. They said that just between 25 April and 4 May some 57,000 tareas of forest were burned.

Source: DiarioLibre

May 12, 2015

Category: DR News |

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