Government launches National Fire Week

by | May 14, 2021 | Local News | 0 comments


Brian Rungano Temba

As Zimbabwe commemorates National Fire Week, the alarming devastation that lingers with the winter (post-harvesting) season becomes more of a reality than a distant, dreaded threat.

Man’s best invention is both a gift from God and his worst enemy, devouring both flora and fauna while destroying even the microscopic cogs in the natural ecosystem.

Statutorily, the veld fire season in Zimbabwe stretches from 31 July to 31 October each year.

The annual average burnt area from 2010-2020 was 1 million hectares.

An average of 60 per cent of the total burnt area has been under the A1 and A2 resettlement areas.


Minister for Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Honourable Nqobizita Mangaliso Ndhlovu said this yesterday while launching National Fire Week at Gwebi Agriculture College in Zvimba District.

“Of the 18,000 A2 farmers, only about 400 have 99-year leases, which leases have specific clauses on environmental protection.
“This creates a possibility of massive information gap on the responsibilities of farmers in their properties,” said Hon Ndhlovu.

“Over the past 10 years, veld fires have led to over 100 fire-related deaths. This is too big a figure to ignore. No life should be lost to veld fires because one life lost is one too many. Life is precious and hence we should thrive as a country to prevent loss of life,” he added.

According to the National Fire Management Strategy and Implementation Plan of 2006, the National Fire Week Launch is meant to raise awareness amongst communities on the need to prevent veld fires by undertaking pre-fire suppression measures such as fireguard construction, biomass reduction and early controlled burning.

“Veld fires have surely become more of an enemy than a friend and as such, are a priority in the National Development Strategy (NDS1) with a thrust towards their reduction.
This National Fire week launch is bringing together key stakeholders such as traditional leaders, policymakers, civil society, corporates, fellow Government officials and farmers unions, among others, as a way of starting the hype on awareness-raising on veld fire prevention,” said Hon Ndhlovu.

He encouraged farmers to maintain fire guards and ensure that they are free of any flammable material to break the fire.
Those in the high veld such as the three Mashonaland Provinces with tall grasses were advised to engage in activities that reduce the amount of the standing grass in your property such as hay bailing or harvesting thatch grass for commercial purposes.

Hon Ndhlovu said traditional leadership, being the custodians of our natural heritage, will play a major role in educating communities in protecting our national natural capital from veld fires in particular.

“My Ministry will be engaging Traditional Leadership, starting this afternoon, to discuss and forge locally grounded solutions to sustainable environmental management, including veld fire management,” he added.

Government parastatals like the ZEDTC and telecommunication companies were urged to secure their infrastructure such as power lines, transformers and boosters and transmission towers from triggering fires.