The operations of the Couva Hospital housing COVID-19 patients were not affected by a bush fire that gutted one hectare of land just south of the facility, today.

Guardian Media understands that firefighters from the Savonetta Fire Station moved quickly to extinguish the massive bush fire, which raged between the Indian Trail Flyover and the Couva Hospital.

Firefighters said they got a call around midday from the Fire Prevention Department about the blaze. Two appliances were dispatched and battled the blaze until 2 pm.

Fire Service officials said the blaze was halted to the south at Baptiste Street, Indian Trail.

The fire season commenced in December 2019 and will end on 30 June 2020. Fire officials told Guardian Media that T&T is now facing one of the driest months of the year since the fire season started.

According to Fire Service officials, there have been more than 1,000 bush fires for the year, thus far.

The Fire Service is reminding citizens that it is illegal to set outdoor fires without a permit. According to the regulations, persons caught setting an illegal fire can be fined $20,000 and serve six months in jail.

Persons wishing to set an outdoor fire must have the necessary permit from the Fire Service authorities to do so. Persons wanting to do outdoor cooking also should seek advice from the Fire Service if they are unaware of the requirements. In addition, any fires used for outdoor cooking should be extinguished immediately after use.

The authorities advise that smoke—coupled with Sahara Dust—can create problems for persons with breathing difficulties, especially COVID-19 patients.

Firefighters battle the bush fire, which came too close to the Couva Hospital. (Image: SHASTRI BOODAN)