Ministry calls for responsible use of fire during fire season

• By Confidente Reporter

The Environment Ministry has called upon members of the public, farmers, and property owners to put measures in place to minimise the risk of a veld fire.

The country’s fire season, which started in April and will end in September, has been observed to cause massive damage to the environment and property over the past years.

“The fire season is usually characterised by strong winds, high temperature and dry vegetation resulting in burning uncontrollable fire,” the Ministry said.

In 2021, Namibia recorded a record total of 3 million hectares of burnt areas, while last year, 2.4 million hectares were burnt, including forest, bush woodland and grassland in various regions.

In addition, the Ministry said 2022, five people sustained serious injuries while three lost their lives, adding to the number of livestock and wildlife losses.

“This year, since the beginning of the fire season, we have recorded 499 344 hectares burned by uncontrolled fires.

“Thirteen veld fires were recorded in the regions, Kavango East 110 333 hectares, Kavango West 815 724 hectares, Otjozondjupa 577 926 hectares, Zambezi 327 326 hectares, Kunene 64 131 hectares, Erongo 47 545 hectares, Hardap 96 679 hectares, Khomas 49 032 hectares, //Karas 93 579 hectares, Omaheke 93 579 hectares, Oshana 24 hectares, Omusati 212 529 hectares and Oshikoto 11 954 hectares,” the statement highlighted.

The Environment Ministry says it has activated the fire management systems in the country to deal with the expected fires.

“We will implement the fire management strategy, which entails fire prevention and suppression activities, community outreach programmes, education and awareness, and stakeholder engagement. Before the fire season, we busy developing and maintaining firebreaks. To this end, 33 km of firebreaks have been cleared across the country, and work is ongoing.

“We would like to call upon charcoal producers to adhere to charcoal production guidelines developed in 2022.

“We also facilitate early burning in community forests and train community members.

“We recognise that fire can be resourceful. However, we want to caution that fire can be destructive and detrimental to the environment and our wellbeing.”

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