The Meteorological Service, Jamaica has developed a one-to-five-day forecast tool to predict the likely outbreak of bush fires in Jamaica.

The initiative involved support from the International Research Institute for Climate and Society at Columbia University and the Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology. The forecast tool was adapted from the North American Keetch-Byram Drought Index (KBDI), which measures soil moisture to determine forest fire potential.

It is part of a project by the Met Service in partnership with the Jamaica Fire Brigade (JFB), to establish a comprehensive bush fire warning index for the island.

“What this project seeks to do is to customise the index to address the specific needs of each parish and area in the country so that when the fire brigade has to issue warnings, it is specific to the local area and what is there,” said Project Assistant with the Met Service, Candace Charlton.