Fire Blazes in Montserrat’s Exclusion Zone

Charred ground in Amersham after fire. (RMPS Photo)

UPDATE (Noon Sunday, July 5)

Acting Chief Fire Officer Hackett said the fire has burnt itself out and was smoldering. The official said the cause of the fire is still unknown. However, he indicated that the fire could easily reignite depending on the wind direction.

Acting Superintendent Rodney indicates that the area is still quite vulnerable as such a further check of the area will be carried out once it is safe to do so. He further wishes to remind persons to stay clear of the area.

Screenshot from the MV Heliconia Star of the fire in Amersham
Screenshot from the MV Heliconia Star of the fire in Amersham

For a second day, a fire continues to blaze in the Exclusion Zone, and fire fighters have been unable to extinguish it.

The Royal Montserrat Police Service on Saturday shared video of a fire blazing in the area of Amersham and Trials. They have identified it as a structural fire, however, it is unknown which buildings are ablaze.

Volcanologist Adam Stinton from the Montserrat Volcano Observatory has allayed fears that the fire was associated with the Soufriere Hills Volcano. Early Sunday morning, Stinton said it was not connected to the volcano and “judging by images from the MVO camera at Garibaldi Hill, the fire has reached almost to the foot of Chance’s Peak, over two kilometres up the slope from where it started.”

The challenge for the local fire department is that the area is in the Exclusion Zone and there is no road access to the villages. Chief Fire Officer Hackett and Captain Samuel and the marine unit aboard the MV Heliconia Star continue to monitor the fire.

Late night video has shown the fire remained fierce and as of 7AM on Sunday morning, RMPS officials say the fire was not out.
Boaters are reminded that the area is within the unsafe zone and everyone should stay clear of the area. Additionally, due to the heavy smoke present, visibility within the area is reduced significantly, and all are asked to stay at least one and a half nautical miles off the coast.