CENIBRA: Prevention is the best way to fight fire
Forest fire is any out-of-control fire in any kind of vegetation, whether plantations, pasture, or native forests. It causes harm to fauna, flora, and soil, not to mention its social, economic, and public health impacts. CENIBRA adopts two main approaches to minimize the damage: prevention and fighting. In this sense, it invests in tools to improve the fire outbreak detection efficiency and strategies to speed up fire extinction.
One of the tools used in fire fighting and prevention is the Monitoring Center, an around-the-clock operating facility equipped with a number of cameras and a modern automatic smoke detection system. This innovative system earned CENIBRA the title of “Best Player” in the Hugo Werneck Sustainability & Love of Nature Award, Brazil’s most important award in the environmental area.
The Forest Fire Working Group, made up of professionals from different departments, is another prevention measure. The group helps design and implement improvement actions that minimize fire occurrence, such as mapping critical fire points and dividing forest areas into strategic prevention and combat blocks.
Another annual action is the awareness campaign, which is carried out among the communities in the areas in which CENIBRA operates. It highlights the problems faced in recent years in relation to forest fires with the purpose of warning the population about the impacts of fire and encourage a change in behavior regarding the need to prevent them.
In the dry season, when rainfall is lower, the hot climate and dry vegetation favor the occurrence of outbreaks and increase the extent of fires. For this reason, CENIBRA takes preventive actions and intensifies care during this most critical period. The Company conducts field drills to test the efficiency of the fire detection and fighting system and identify opportunities for improvement. The maintenance of firebreaks and roads is also reinforced to ensure quick, safe access by the teams involved and reduce the risk of fires started in third parties’ lands reaching the Company’s areas.
A widespread decrease in the number of fauna species is one of the most important impacts of forest fires, either through drastic changes in the natural habitat or by the death of animals that cannot escape the fire, as is the case of low-mobility species, such as reptiles, amphibians, and small mammals. But the effect on wild birds is also serious as the period of the year with the highest incidence of forest fires coincides with the reproductive season of most bird species, destroying nests and eggs and killing the young.
Fires are also responsible for large emissions of greenhouse gases. In addition to harming the environment and causing damage to health, a forest fire can result in significant financial losses and also put the lives of people and animals at risk. This is why starting a fire is a crime. The penalty for offenders can be up to four years in prison, in addition to the payment of fines. Using fire to clean a lot or burn garbage is also an environmental crime, no matter how careful one may be.