Veld fires leave trail of destruction

By Tapiwa Machemedze

In Mashonaland Central Province, 200 hectares of land have been destroyed by 13 veld fire incidents recorded during the fire season while 20 tonnes of maize were burnt to ashes.

Two people recently lost their lives in Bindura as an indirect result of a veld fire, while a haulage truck narrowly escaped destruction in another incident in Mazowe last Friday.

The Environmental Management Agency (EMA) has so fa issued five tickets with concern being raised about sub-standard construction of fire guards which are supposed to reduce the spread of veld fires.

“The fire season is upon us and people need to take precautions. we have observed that fire guards being constructed measure 2 to 3 metres whereas a proper fireguard should be nine metres. Taking into account the biomass ratio due to last summer’s heavy rains fireguards can even stretch up to 13 metres,” said EMA Mashonaland Central Spokesperson Maxwell Mupotsa.

A campaign is also being undertaken on social media, while traditional leaders have been roped in to encourage people to protect themselves against veld fires in the hope of reducing losses after 194 000 hectares were lost last year.