Kampala — The Inspector General of Police (IGP), Gen. Kale Kayihura has strongly warned against growing of pine trees on a massive scale, arguing that such a move is a recipe for uncontrollable wild fires.
Pines are among the most commercially important tree species, valued for their timber and wood pulp throughout the world. Pine wood is widely used in high-value carpentry items such as furniture, window frames, panelling, floors and roofing, and they are a source of the highly flammable oil called turpentine.
It is because of turpentine that, Kayihura expressed reservations about the massive growth of pine in Uganda in recent years that has seen areas that were previously occupied by natural vegetation replaced by pine.
Kayihura noted that turpentine makes pine easily susceptible to fire, adding that the trees can escalate forest fires across the country, leading to loss of lives and property.
The Government has been promoting the growing of pine trees as a source of wealth.
Firefighting officer doing some drills on how to stop fire at Kampala Fire Station headquarters on July 5, 2013. PHOTO/Tony Rujuta
Passing out 457 fire fighters at the police fire command headquarters in Kampala on Friday, Kayihura urged the National Forestry Authority to be cautious of the scale of pine they plan to grow, especially within natural forests.
"We do not have the capacity to fight forest fires just yet. Please be careful about growing pine because it may destroy us in future," warned Kayihura.
The IGP congratulated the graduates upon completing their training which began in January at the Uganda prisons staff college in Luzira, Kampala. Of the graduands, 422 of were probationer police constables while the other 35 were prisons staff.
They were trained in fire fighting in various installations, emergency rescue techniques, evacuation procedure, hazardous materials incidence handling procedures, breathing apparatus donning use and application.
Others were fire protection systems, hydraulics and fire pumps applications, first aid and industry fire prevention and protection.