The solutions to the fires along Costa Rica’s Gold Coast and in its mountainous areas during the dry season are not going to come from the badly stretched land-based fire departments but from the sea and from innovation and a little bit of copying what is done in my home state of California.
In addition to a great deal of education regarding fire prevention, we need a helicopter based on the coast between Papagayo and Nicoya that would provide large buckets to pick up ocean water and drop it directly on to those fires. In the case of fires in more heavily populated areas, perhaps those filled buckets could be lowered near the fires and those same buckets could be equipped with hoses and additional equipment to allow those trained volunteers on the ground to successfully contain the flames and reduce the damage.
Conceivably, this helicopter could be run privately and used when there were no fires for tourists wanting a bird’s eye view of the area, for travelers wanting to move quickly or for medical emergencies demanding swift transportation to hospitals.
Given that most fires occur during the dry season and many occur in places where there simply are no water mains, the ocean seems to be our only solution and while this idea is not fully developed, I hope it may act as a seed to combine innovation, volunteerism, contributions, perhaps from the large hotels and developments sprouting along the coast, into a working project to benefit the area and those who live and vacation within it.
San Francisco, California
Playa del Coco