New Fire Tower Supports PfB Rangers
A new fire observation tower was inaugurated at the Rio Bravo Conservation and Management Area in 2016. During the dry season, rangers will climb the tower two to three times during the day to look for smoke or fire. If detected, the rangers will launch fire control and suppression.
Additionally, the tower helps Programme for Belize (PfB) control poaching of wildlife, especially at night. Nighttime hunts can be detected by watching for people entering the borders with flashlights. From the top of the tower, the rangers can see across the pine savannahs and broadleaf forests—all the way to Hill Bank Field Station.
To the east of the tower, they can watch the road which enters the protected property. To the west is the Rancho Dolores pine savannah; one of the best-managed pine savannahs in Belize and critical habitat for the endangered, near-endemic Yellow-headed Parrot.
Rangers regularly patrol in the pine savannah at the borders, checking for any signs of illegal activities, such as poaching and logging. Rangers live on the property, and there is a 24/7 duty cycle. The new fire tower will greatly improve the rangers’ ability to monitor the reserves resources and activities.
The Yellow-headed Parrot is just one of the many bird species protected in the management area. There are also about 150 species of mammals that are under constant threat from poachers.