Deterrent measures needed to prevent veld fires

By Memory Chamisa

Government is putting in place water-tight fire suppression measures to prevent veld fires, protect the environment and save lives.

Every year, the second week of May is set aside for awareness campaigns on the dangers of veld fires and strategies to prevent them, and this year’s launch comes at a time government in conjunction with the Environmental Management Agency, relevant ministries and other stakeholders have scaled up fire management activities in the country.

Guest of Honour at the launch this Monday, Minister of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Honourable Mangaliso Ndlovu emphasised the need to pay attention to climate change.

“In as much as we might call for deterrent measures on those that start fires that result in deaths, we also need to look for way to ensure the environment is protected and human life is saved. Last season we recorded 8 deaths because of veld fires and 3 948 fire incidents were recorded burning 1 033 722.86 hectares of land during last year’s fire season,” Hon Ndlovu said.

Forestry Commission board chairperson, Mrs Veronicah Gunda Jakasi spoke on the need to manage veld fires with so many habitats depending on the environment.

She said, “As we enter this fire season, it is imperative that we consider the environment and all its dependents. Vast tracts of land are lost due to uncontrolled veldt fires that mist of the time affect the habitats, animals and humans. Some even lose their crops as a result of uncontrolled fires, therefore, we will continue urging each other to be vigilant and protect the environment and each other’s lives by adhering to the set standards for setting fires.”

Irresponsible Human behavior has been blamed for most of the fire incidents while there is also a rallying call to put in place fire guards and other effective preventive measures.