Officials worry that forest fire season next year will be a big one

Environment ministry officials are gearing up for a challenging forest fire season.

The ministry and its Sistema Nacional de Áreas de Conservación note that there has been a shortage of water throughout 2012, and that means some areas are tinder dry.

The forest fire season begins officially Jan. 1, and smoke spotters will be in towers. The ministry also is hoping to use satellites to spot outbreaks of fire.

There are 940 volunteer fire fighters in 75 units who will be on call. The ministry is involved because many of the major fires take place in national parks and protected areas. Also involved is the Comisión Nacional sobre Incendios Forestales.

The Ministerio de Ambiente, Energía y Telecomunicaciones also asked the public to take steps to prevent forest fires.

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