5 June 2012

Namibia: Fire Hazard Warning

Windhoek — In light of the current fire season, the Namibia National Farmers Union (NNFU) has warned farmers to be more vigilant about potential fire hazards.

According to Programme Coordinator: Livestock and Agribusiness Advice at NNFU, Vetuundja Kazapua, the north-eastern regions of the country have already suffered various wild fires, including the Caprivi, Kavango and Otjozondjupa regions that border neighbouring countries.

The areas are more prone to bush fires.

He explained that the veld fire season starts in winter due to grass drying, which grass is prone to be ignited by live cigarette butts.

Kazapua says at this time of the year people also light fires in the veld to keep warm and this could lead to uncontrolled fires due to wind, or due to the fires not being properly extinguished. People also engage in cutting fire lines and camp construction.

Fire has for a long time been used as a tool for rangeland management, pest and disease control as well as a stimulus for seed germination, among others.

However, it sometimes gets out of hand and becomes catastrophic for various kinds of wildlife, domesticated animals, infrastructure and humans.

"This warning is necessitated by the danger or losses that may be faced by farmers if uncontrolled fires spread out. The consequence is loss of animals, grazing, lives, and infrastructure," Kazapua elaborated.

A number of reports last year revealed extensive loss of wildlife and livestock across Namibia due to uncontrollable veld fires.

Both the farmers and community members in those regions are urged to be cautious and take all necessary precautionary measures to allow them to respond quickly and effectively to any fire emergency.

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