Fears abound that if no preventive measures are taken, the  impact of veld fires this year could be more catastrophic than in previous years.

This is being attributed  to the high levels of biomass resulting from the heavy rains during the 2016/2017 summer season.

Environmentalists fear the thick and tall grasses characterising the forests’ vegetation have the potential to fuel the spread of veld fires on a higher scale than in previous seasons, when the density of grass was low.

Environmentalists are therefore urging communities, especially in farming areas to come up with fire prevention measures and to have reaction teams well equipped to extinguish veld fires.

At a fire awareness campaign organised by the Environmental Management Agency (EMA) in Doma, Mhangura, chief executive officer for Makonde Rural District Council, Mrs Lahliwe Murefu expressed fear the 2017 fire season could be the worst given the high vegetation growth.

EMA board member, Mr Howard Mazaiwana called on communities to take seriously the need to prevent and contain veld fires which are usually destructive in nature.

The fire awareness campaign in Makonde district was held at Mitiyana Estate in Mhangura where the veld fire record got worse in 2016 compared to the previous year.

A total of 44 000 hectares of forest were destroyed in the area last year compared to 14 000 the previous year prompting authorities to take their awareness campaigns to the area in ward 2.

Last year three people in Matoranjera near Chinhoyi were burnt to death by a veld fire.