Government moves to cut number of forest and field fires

The Web page
carries the title of a popular song by Malpais.

The country is embarking on a major publicity campaign to prevent forest fires. In addition, a Web page seeks to raise funds to equip some 1,000 volunteer fire fighters.

President Laura Chinchilla and René Castro Salazar, the environment minister, launched the campaign Wednesday. It is called Un Verano sin Incendios Forestales or “A summer without forest fires.” Costa Ricans consider the dry season from December to April to be summer.

The campaign includes a Web page where persons can file complaints or make donations. The name is based on a popular song.

In addition to a media blitz, workers will go door to door in areas near woodlands with the greatest danger to encourage the public to participate.

Officials said that 99 percent of the field and forest fires in Costa Rica are caused by humans. Some are set deliberately.

Some of the money for the campaign comes from the Unión Internacional para la Conservación de la Naturaleza, said officials. There will be television and radio spots. Social media also will be used.

Officials said that 2012 saw many forest fires but that 2013 should be worse due to the anticipated reduction in rainfall.

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