Five-day veld fire threatens Hwange

19 Sep, 2017 - 02:09 0 Views
Five-day veld fire threatens Hwange

The Chronicle

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Leonard Ncube, Victoria Falls Reporter
FIREFIGHTERS have been battling with a veld fire in Madumabisa area of Hwange since Thursday and yesterday the fire was raging towards Hwange town.

Environmental Management Agency (EMA) Matabeleland North Provincial Manager, Mrs Chipo Mpofu-Zuze said investigations have pointed to poaching as the cause of the fire.

Mrs Mpofu-Zuze said fire fighters were on the ground trying to put out the blaze.

“Our Hwange office notified us that since Thursday when the fire started, stakeholders have been attending to it. They would put it out and leave thinking it is under control. However, later there would be a resurgence from smoulders and as we speak they have dispatched a fire tender to attend to the new resurgence,” she said.

The fire tender was dispatched from Hwange Colliery Company while fire fighters were drawn from various stakeholders including villagers trained by EMA.

“A total of 194 871 ha have been burnt to date in the province with Hwange recording the highest fire incidents. Of the total burnt land in Hwange district, 72 000 ha were recorded in the game parks areas with the main cause being poachers,” said Mrs Mpofu-Zuze.

Matetsi area which borders Hwange National Park is the worst affected.

A Chronicle news crew noticed another veld fire along the Hwange-Victoria Falls road about 50km from Hwange town on Thursday and Friday.

Mrs Mpofu-Zuze said the provincial target of zero fire incidents had failed, as high temperatures put the whole province at risk of veld fires.

EMA has been carrying out educational campaigns encouraging communities to cut and sell grass instead of burning it.

The fire season started on July 31 and will end in November.

@ncubeleon

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