THE FIRE SEASON IS FAST APPROACHING; CONSTRUCT FIREGUARDS AROUND YOUR PROPERTY
- Published: Wednesday, 25 April 2018 12:58
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Veld fire management has been one of the environmental issues of concern in Zimbabwe affecting most farming communities. In 2017, 2705 fire incidences were recorded up from to 1 652 in 2016 translating to a 63.7% increase. As a result, 1268 534 hectares of land were burnt by fires compared to 1197 335 hectares during the same period in 2016, which is a 5.9% increase. The scourge killed 6 people in 2017 down from 7 in 2016 and destroyed property worth over $300 000 compared to $241 569.00 in 2016.
The increase in veld fire incidences, area burnt and the value of property destroyed can be largely attributed to the La nina effect which brought about more than average rainfall during the 2016/2017 rainy season, resulting in massive vegetative growth. This biomas was the necessary ingredient for veld fire occurrences and the situation could have been worse had it not been of the interventions by the Agency. These included fireguard construction, hay baling, thatch and broom grass harvesting and early burning.
What is a fireguard?
It is a belt of land that is cleared of all inflammable material in order to control the spread ofveld fires.
A standard fireguard should be at least 9m wide and free from any flammable material
What is a standard fireguard?
A standard fireguard is one which measures at least 9metres wide on either side of a boundary line/fence. It then follows that between two properties, the fireguard becomes at least 18metres wide. Internal fireguards of at least 4,5 metres should be constructed in addition to the existing pathways and roads to ensure extra- protection of properties and other valuables. The width of the fireguards should be increased if the area is surrounded by tall grass.
When are they constructed?
Fireguards should be constructed before the end of June every year. However, we encourage the construction of fireguards to start during the months of April and May, taking advantage of the moisture in the soil.
Where are they constructed?
Fireguards should be constructed around any area that one wants to protect from veld fires. This includes homes, farms, paddocks, woodlots, orchards, nurseries croplands and boundary fences.