Environment Ministry commences with forest fire management
The Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism (MEFT) has commenced with its national fire management programme with the intention to detect, prevent and suppress fires in anticipation of the fire season which starts July to January every year.
MEFT spokeperson Romeo Muyunda in a statement on Thursday said under this management strategy, more effort is put on education and training local communities in firefighting skills and establishing fire community based fire crews to assist in cases of fires in their communities.
“Training involves fire behavior and effects, fire prevention, firefighting and management. The Ministry through the Directorate of Forestry can also assist individuals, communities and organisation
with the basic training and development of fire management plans that will give guidance on how to manage fires on a piece of land,” he said.
We have started also with the internationally practiced prescribed/ early burning which is pre-planned ignition of fire for specific purposes such as fuel reduction, habitant modification, improvement of natural resources and removal of encroacher bushes. Even though fire is generally considered as dangerous, pre-planned fire is good as it provides agricultural and conservation benefits,” he added.
“Currently, the Ministry is in a process of servicing and repairing firefighting vehicles and machineries. Also, the Directorate has conducted needs assessment and is in a process of ordering additional firefighting equipment to reach out to all fire-prone corners of the country,” he said.
Additionally, Muyunda said the Ministry facilitates the preparation of extensive networks of fire breaks annually and to this effect we have started with clearing fire breaks in fireprone regions.
“To date the Ministry has cleared 634 km out of the expected 3027 km countrywide. In Oshana, 280 km has been cleared; Oshikoto, 124 km , Ohangwena 50 km, Omusati 100 km, Zambezi 40 with Kavango-West and -East, Otjozodjupa, Omaheke and Khomas expected to follow soon,” he said.
According to Muyunda every year, forest fires burn about 2 million hectares of vegetation in fire-prone regions threatening lives and property, degrading the environment.
“Due to the threat that fires pose particularly in the conservation of our forest resources including wildlife, the Ministry considers forest fire management an issue of national importance,” he said.
Caption: A Ministry official starts practiced prescribed/ early burning which is pre-planned ignition for specific purposes.