23 October 2018

Zimbabwe: Concern Over Surge in Uncontrolled Fires

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THE Environmental Management Agency (EMA) has expressed concern over the increase in uncontrolled fires in Mashonaland West Province.

EMA has since urged responsible authorities and the community to work tirelessly in combating the fires.

At least 366 768 hectares have been destroyed by veldt fires as at October 11, an increase from the 208 670.84ha destroyed before September 7 this year.

In an interview recently, EMA provincial education and publicity officer Mr Munyaradzi Nhariswa said the fires were often associated with high temperatures and dry biomass which were preconditions for in uncontrolled violent fires.

"We appeal to farmers across the province to desist from their traditional land clearance mechanisms of using fires until the fire season is over," he said.

"Fire management is a multi-stakeholder approach which requires everyone to put effort in reducing veld fires.

"The patches of dry biomass in some areas and high temperatures being experienced can lead to violent uncontrolled fires."

EMA has also implemented biomass reduction projects including clearance of land and removing highly inflammable materials.

The project include hay bailing and the introduction of apiculture projects in areas under extreme risk of veld fires such as in Zvimba.

Mr Nhariswa also urged farmers to comply with provisions of Statutory Instrument 7 of 2007 which prohibits the starting of fires outside commercial or residential premises during the fire season.

"All veld fire cases should be timely reported to traditional leaders, Environmental Management Agency, local authorities, Forestry Commission and the Zimbabwe Republic of Police," he said.

Thousands of hectares of forests are lost each year through veld fires which, in some instances, have claimed people and animals' lives.

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