FARMERS AND VELD FIRE PREPAREDNESS
- 28 Apr
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Veld fires have become one of Zimbabwe’s greatest environmental challenges for the past decade. In 2014, a total of 2 575 fire incidences were recorded country wide resulting in 1 653 822 hectares being burnt and 12 people dying in inferno. In addition, commercial tree plantations, agricultural produce, agricultural equipment and livestock, worth US$240,275 were gutted down in the fire scourge. All these veldt fires are concentrated in the dry season when the grass is dry. We are faced with yet another dry period ahead that follows a rainy season that had heavy rain downpours which promoted the growth of tall grasses in most parts of the country. As such, there is plenty of biomass; material that constitutes the fuel load for potentially violent veld fires.
In response to the fire scourge, the second week of May each year has been declared the National Fire Week as guided by the National fire strategy of 2006. The events for the week are meant to raise awareness on the need to protect the environment from veld fires. The National Fire Week is meant to be commemorated at every level; National, Provincial, District, Ward and Village. Leaders at the various levels are therefore encouraged to take note and ensure the people they lead are sensitised on the need to prevent veld fires during this week. It is also crucial for farming communities to be knowledgeable of the preparations to be undertaken prior to the dry season and the 31st of July up to the onset of the rainy season when it is prohibited to start a fire outside residential or commercial premise.