veld fire 25-08-10.jpgEnvironmentalists have raised concern at the increase in veld fire incidents and have urged the Environment Management Agency (EMA)to take action and strictly enforce the National Forest and Veld Fire Management Policy.

 

Campfire Executive Director, Mr Charles Jonga said there is need for continuous research until a solution is found as well as all year round awareness educational campaigns in rural communities until such a time when veld fires are reduced.

“There is need for intense research into the origin of such fires of late we have noticed that people who are trading in thatching grass also start fires to enable new shots of such grass at the beginning of the rain season,” said Mr Jonga.

More than 11 million hectares of land were destroyed by veld fires last year and Environment Africa Executive Director, Shyleen Hywatt says the problem requires joint efforts by government, the church, schools and private companies.

“This problem cannot be tackled from one ministry’s point of view, instead it is supposed to be tackled from all facets of development,” said Hywatt.

Members of the public summarised what is needed as “action and enforcement”.

Despite efforts by the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources Management to deal with the problem, veld fires continue unabated.

Analysts say since 60% of veld fires are caused by burning during farm preparation, the Ministry of Agriculture should come strongly on board and train farmers to establish farmer fire reaction groups.