EMA issues veld fire warning
By Vimbai Kamoyo
The national environment regulator has warned of the dawn of the wild fire season.
In a statement posted on its social media platforms the Environmental Management Agency (EMA) cautioned the general public of the advent of the veld fire season saying people should be watchful of its repercussions.
“The 31st of July each year marks the beginning of fire season, which stretches to 31st of October on the onset of the first effective rain. During this period, environmental and weather conditions are conducive for the occurrence of veld fires. Therefore, all citizens are encouraged to exercise due care in the prevention of veld fires,” the statement said.
Veld fires have had a destructive telling effect in the country, destroying millions of hectares of crops, thousands animals and loss of human life.
According to an in-depth study done by academics Luckson Chinamatira, Spikilele Mtetwa and George Nyamadzawo wild fires are caused by several agents. These include human negligence and deliberate arson, lighting and spontaneous ignition.
On the human effect the trio cited hunting, bee harvesting, burning of crop residues, land preparation, burning of homestead surrounding to improve visibility and outright arson as some of the causes.
The scholars also noted that veld fires have a huge cost on social and economic front.
“Outbreaks have resulted in increased loss of agricultural produce, reduced food availability for both humans and animals, reduced growth rate of vegetation, and loss of equipment. Acute impacts such as trauma, loss of shelter and property, e.g. the destruction of a home or damage to personal goods, can be a source of grief; stress and people whose lives and property are threatened by veld fires may experience a feeling of helplessness. According to Nyamadzawo et al. (2013), in most African cultures, poor homeless people are often stigmatized, and the loss of livelihoods sources may result complete disintegration of the family unit. The result is that the resource-poor smallholder farmers are ushered deeper into a poverty cycle,” part of the report said.
Efforts to get comment from EMA on how they intent to educate the rural population on the dangers of wild fires this year who might not be on social media or any other form were fruitless at the time of going to the print.