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Midlands lost 25 000 ha to veld fire

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Midlands lost 25 000 ha to veld fire


Sydney Mubaiwa

GWERU – Midlands Province has lost more than 25 100 hectares of vegetation to veld fires since the fire season began on July 1, 2023, the Environment Management Authority (EMA) has said.  
Midlands Environmental Education and Publicity Officer Oswald Ndlovu said the hectares are a sharp increase from 7 500 hectares in the same period last year.
The fire season runs from July 1 to October 31 every year.
He said they recorded three major veld fires that have razed down over 15 huts, livestock, grains, and pastures across the province.
The province has lost over 25 100 hectares to veld fires since the start of the fire season. Major causes are land preparation, charcoal production, bee smoking and wildlife poachers,” he said.
Last week a veld fire razed down 10 huts in the Hwinya area under Chief Nhema in Shurugwi.
Another veld fire destroyed 550 hectares of land and five huts in Ward 7 Mbilashaba, Chief Masunda in Zvishavane. The fire affected several villages like Jonyo, Njese, Pikiri and Ngazimbi.
“It’s unfortunate that villagers also lost three bags of maize, groceries, three bags of fertiliser, five bags of cement, roofing material and household property to the inferno.
“Investigations are ongoing but the fire is suspected to have been started by a person who was doing land preparation in his garden.”
He also said that Shurugwi villagers are bearing the brunt of veld fires as they are losing grazing lands.
“A family lost a scotch cart, 17 bags of maize, five bags of cement, kitchen utensils, building materials and household property.
“The fire also destroyed 420 hectares of grazing land. The cause of the fire is yet to be ascertained,” he added.
Ndlovu urged villagers to desist from using fire to clear their lands during land preparation as the fire gets out of control, especially under windy conditions.
“EMA, together with other law enforcement agencies will be on high alert and all those found violating the law will be prosecuted. People should work together to prevent veld fires and report all fire offenders,” he said.
Wildfires that occur naturally are usually caused by lightning, coal seams or fallen power lines.

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