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- 23 Apr
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Veld fires have become one of the greatest environmental challenges of our time, causing intense damage to Zimbabwe’s natural flora and fauna, biodiversity, forests, animal habitats, crops and even leading to the loss of life and valuable property.Veld fires are defined as blazes that get out of control, become wild, and in the process destroy extensive tracts of forests, grasslands, animals, people and their properties. This burning has negative impacts which include; biodiversity loss, greenhouse gas emissions, loss of pastures, reduction in crop yields, soil fertility loss and the disruption of the hydrological cycle.
The 2018 fire season recorded a 16.7 % reduction in fire incidences (1 595) compared with the previous year (2 705). A total of 1 190 174.89 hectares of land were burnt by veld fires in the current season while 1 268 534.31 hectares were burnt in the 2017 fire season, giving a difference of 78 359.42 hectares and a 6.2 % reduction in area burnt as at 31st October 2018. Sadly, 5 people died in inferno as compared to 6 in 2017.
This is the right time to construct fireguards right round our properties. A standard fireguard should be at least 9m wide.
How can Farmers Protect their Property from Veld Fires?
Every land owner has a responsibility to put in place the necessary fire suppression measures in and around their properties as stipulated in the Forest Act (Chapter 19:05) and Statutory Instrument 7 of 2007 (Environmental Impact Assessment and Ecosystems Protection) Regulations. According to these laws, it is an offence for land owners and occupiers not to take fire preventative measures such as the construction of standard fire guards which are at least 9 metres wide before the onset of the fire season. Fire protection on properties should be planned; it is much more effective if it is co-ordinated. Farm owners can unite to construct fire guards around their properties.