The Maderas del Orinoco-Mavetur mixed company denounced this Friday before the Public Ministry the carrying out of “criminal burnings” in the Uverito forest, located in the south of Monagas State, which puts at risk not only the largest Caribbean Pine plantation in Venezuela but to more than 200 communities that live in the surroundings.
“We have considered it necessary to denounce these actions and ask the security agencies to take action to stop those who we presume are causing these fires in the plantation forest that put more than 200 communities living in the surrounding area at risk, as well as thousands of vehicles and people who transit through the national highways that connect the states of Anzoátegui, Monagas and Bolívar,” said Lisseth Álvarez, President of “Maderas del Orinoco”.
She explained that there has been a significant increase in fires this year compared to previous years and both the company’s forestry experts and the firefighters who have helped fight the fires have pointed out that there are indications that they have been caused by human action.
Between the months of March and May of each year occurs what the forestry experts who manage the Uverito forest call the “critical period”. During this time the danger of forest fires increases due to the dry season, the general decrease in humidity levels and the increase in temperatures in the savanna where the forest is planted.
Between the first week of February and the third week of March there have been a total of 159 fires inside the plantations. This represents an increase of 45% compared to the same period in 2022. All these events have been fought by the company’s fire brigades. Additionally, 52 fires have been fought outside the plantation, considering that these represent a risk to the forest.
“Although we have managed to control and put out the fires, we must alert everyone to the danger of continuing to intentionally burn the forest at a time when the National Institute of Meteorology (INAMEH) has warned of a 78% risk of forest fire spread in the country,” added Luis Gustavo Rivera, Mavetur’s Director of Operations. “A small fire can spread very quickly at this time and affect the lives and jobs of thousands of people,” he warned.
He also urged the general population to report the presence of fire in any part of the forest through the number 0414-8505887 or to the authorities in order to eliminate these sources of flames on time.
Officials from Unit No. 06 of the Dgcim (Military Intelligence Directorate), members of the Morichal National Guard in Monagas State, and Detachment 524 located in Pariaguán, Anzoátegui State, the national police, and the state and municipal police have been deployed to patrol all the flanks of the forest.
The Uverito forest is a forestry development of the Venezuelan State that began in 1960 with the plantation of the Caribbean Pine species in the eastern savanna of the country. The main objective was to create a sustainable wood and timber source for industrial use. In its beginnings it was managed by the Venezuelan Corporation of Guayana. As of 2012 it is managed by the state-owned company “Maderas del Orinoco”, and since 2019 through the mixed company Mavetur.