By Leopold Munhende
THE Environmental Management Agency (EMA) has recorded an 84,97% increase in veld fire cases during the current fire season as compared to the same period last year.
The season officially ends on October 31.
Some 1 517 incidences have been recorded from July 31 when the season began, accounting for 403 366.7 hectares as compared to 385 incidences in 2020 covering 220 000 hectares.
“Since the beginning of the veld fire season, a total of 1 517 fire incidences burning 408 366.7 hectares of land were recorded,” EMA Education and Publicity manager Amkela Sidange said.
“The cumulative burnt area translates to 84.97% increase compared to the same period in 2020 when 220 778.79 hectares were burnt from the recorded 395 veld fire incidences. The veld fires have destroyed agricultural produce, equipment, household property and plantations worth US$ 187 167.The current trends in veld fire incidences require increased effort by all stakeholders to prevent veld fires, mobilize the local structures to put out the fires and report the culprits to law enforcement agencies,” Sidange said.
“Clarion call is also made to farmers not to attempt clearing fireguards using fires now, as it is windy, dry and hot thus making it conducive for the start of veld fires.”
The fires have already claimed three people, a 59 year old from Zvimba and siblings aged three and six from Hurungwe.
Only one person died from veld fires in the 2020 season.