The Environmental Management Agency (EMA), has this year recorded a decrease in the fire spread compared to last year but however the country lost 3 lives just like last year to veld fire related incidents.
According to EMA’s preliminary review, this year was the first in 10 years to record less than 1 million hectares of land lost to veld fires.
“This shows a decrease of 30.38% on total area burnt and 21.38% on fire incidences recorded during the 2020 fire season. Apparently, this is the first fire season in 10 years where the country has recorded less than 1 million hectares of land lost to veld fires, and it is worth noting that the veld fire hotspot province, Mashonaland West recorded a reduction in total area burnt in 2020 compared to previous seasons,
“However, 3 lives, all male adults, 2 from Mashonaland East and 1 from Mashonaland West, were lost in veld fire related incidents in 2020, coincidentally the same number of fatalities in 2019.” The review shows.
The period 31 July to 31 October, is statutory fire season in Zimbabwe, where
use of fire either outside residential or business premises is prohibited
Meanwhile, EMA said this years’ decrease of the fire spread is attributed to their efforts on veld management.
“The historic decrease in both area burnt and fire incidences recorded in 2020 is attributed to increased efforts on veld management by EMA and its partners, working with communities in fire prone areas, who tirelessly implemented several interventions to prevent veld fires, such as reduction of biomass in the environment
to suppress veld fires and fire guard construction, among others.”
The 2020 statutory fire season could have ended, but the country however is still experiencing conditions conducive for the start of veld fires hence EMA urged the public “to remain vigilant when handling fires,
“The country often records fire loses both before and after the statutory veld fire season, and the Agency will continue monitoring veld fires in the country until the first effective rains are received.” They said.