Abia recorded 350 fire outbreaks in 2020 against 390 in 2019, the Controller of Fire Service in the state, Mr Victor Gbaruko, has said.
Gbaruko told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Aba on Friday that the 390 incidents in 2019 had 12 casualties.
He said that Umuahia Fire Station alone recorded five fires in two days in 2021.
According to him, the fires emanated from cooking gas.
“Last night, we attended to a fire outbreak at the Umuahia Mechanic Village, which brought the number in just two days to five; we were able to combat all of them apart from those that were bush-related.
“When we have bush fires, we look at how close the fire is to people’s houses and farms in order to know whether or not to waste time, energy and resources.
“If the fire surrounds a refuse dump which is not close to houses, we only cordon off the area.
“Our people who are hunters have been found to be responsible for some of the bush-related fires; they should know that what they do is causing people pain,’’ he said.
He advised hunters to be more careful.
“People who chase bush rabbits should be careful. Using fires to chase these animals is not worth the trouble because such fires can reach houses.
“We advise that people should stop bush burning. It is a major cause of bushfire around us here,’’ he said.
Gbaruko added that bushfires destroyed fresh farms and barns, causing food scarcity and hunger.
He advised residents of the state to create spaces of three feet to six feet from their houses to nearby bushes to be safe from bush fires.
Gbaruko warned the residents against keeping cooking gas cylinders insider kitchens.
He also warned owners of filling stations to stop selling fuel while discharging the product from tankers, to avoid igniting fire.
The controller said that the service would increase its public enlightenment on fire prevention.
“We are collaborating with the National Youth Service Corps to educate more people in Abia on fire prevention.
“We have about 207 corps members who will be trained by the Fire Service and posted to local governments in Abia as fire vanguards to educate more people on fire prevention and safety from fire,” he said. (NAN)