Veld fires blaze through a total of 580,480 ha countrywide
Veld fire outbreaks countrywide burnt through 508,480 hectares of land from May to September this year, the country’s environment minister, Pohamba Shifeta said this on occasion of the situation update to the cabinet.
“The most fire prone regions are Kavango East, Kavango West, Otjozodjupa, Oshikoto, Zambezi, Ohangwena, Kunene, Oshana, Omusati, Khomas, Hardap and Omaheke,” he said, adding that the frequency, intensity and extent of veld fires annually has become a serious concern.
According to Shifeta, in the Omusati region, 21 goats and sheep burnt to death and 2 cattle posts destroyed, while in the Khomas region, 25 farms burnt and 491 livestock and game killed, one human life lost and 4 severely injured.
“It is worrisome to observe that the country continues to report fire incidents destroying properties and the environment and putting people’s lives in danger. Severe fires also disrupt the ecosystem and affect natural processes, which may be crucial in sustaining our livelihoods,” he added.
Shifeta said as part of the strategy to fight fires, the ministry has started with the internationally accepted practice of the prescribed early burning mechanism which is the pre-planned ignition of fire for specific purposes such as fuel reduction, habitat modification, and improvement of natural resources and removal of encroacher bush.
“Additionally, the ministry facilitates the preparation of extensive networks of firebreaks annually and to this effect, we are busy clearing firebreaks in most of the fire prone regions,” he added.
Shifeta meanwhile urged members of the public, farmers / landowners and all stakeholders to put in place necessary fire prevention measures such as fire cut lines or fire breaks, while encouraging the early reporting of wildfires to forestry offices nearby.