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29000 Hacters Destroyed By Veld Fire In Masvingo

By Martha Leboho

Over 29 000 hacters have been destroyed by veld fire in the province an upsurge as compared to the previous year’s fire season which commences from July 31 to October 31 each year, Environmental Management Agency (EMA) official has said.

Milton Muusha from EMA told this publication that over 29 000 hacters have been destroyed by veldfires with Gutu and Masvingo districts being the most affected areas.

“According to statistics, in September we had lost 29 356.16 hacters as compared to 10613.23 hacters of the whole year in 2020.

Gutu and Masvingo districts are the most affected areas” said Muusha.

Muusha said due to the heavy rains received last year 2020/21 rainy season , there is a lot of biomass and this on its own is a driver for uncontrolled veld fires.

He added that most of these veldfires are caused by farmers as they continue to use fire for land preparation also the use of fire guards during the season has a risk of uncontrollable situation.

Muusha urged the public to report all fire incidents to responsible authorities such as traditional leaders, ZRP, EMA, Council or Forestry commission.

In case of a veld fire , everyone must participate in fighting the fire regardless of it’s source, also construct standard fire guards, have fire fighting equipment in place and set up fire fighting teams on properties to fight fire in case of veld fire” added Muusha.

Agency spokesperson, Amkela Sidange told this publication that 4 lives have since died of veld fires, 2 of them being minor siblings.

“The Country has so far recorded a total of 2829 fire incidences, 658 000 ha of prime land destroyers and property worth USD $230 000 recording an increase of 9.4% from the previous year under review.

Sidange added that most communities are now arlet of the dangers of veld fires and they are engaging on the ways to avoid and fight veld fires”.

The Agency has so far issued 852 tickets and 59 dockets are with the Zimbabwe Republic Police of people found on the wrong side of the law, she added.

Farmers are urged not to clear fields using fire in preparation if the summer farming season but to use their residue for compost as organic manure for conservation farming and to create fire guards which will help reduce destruction of the flora and fauna as well as the atmospheric environment through smoke.