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Midlands veldfires fall by 33.6%

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Midlands veldfires fall by 33.6%

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SYDNEY MUBAIWA
MIDLANDS BUREAU

GWERU – Veld fires decreased by 33.6% in the Midlands Province from 128 000 cases in 2022 to 84 915 cases in 2023, the province’s Permanent Secretary Edgar Seenza has said.
He said this at the provincial fire week launch in Somabula last Friday. He was representing Minister of State Owen Ncube.
Seenza urged villagers to continue guarding against veld fires. He said veld fires cause pollution, land degradation and affect food security.
“Given their distractive nature, veld fires have become a national concern. The fires have become a major contributor in the destruction of environment, property and life. They have become one of the major problems the nation is battling to combat and are also undoubtedly among the major drivers of land degradation and biodiversity loss in our country.
“I urged you to continue with this spirit and let’s encourage one another to stop the spread of veld fires as the fire season is upon us,” he said.
Seenza urged traditional leaders to diligently remain as custodians of the environment and natural resources.
Gweru District Forestry Commission Officer, Polite Foto said twelve firefighting teams have been trained in Somabula. Gweru recorded most veld fires last year.
“I encourage other districts to emulate what is happening in Gweru, particularly here in Somabula where 12 firefighting teams have been trained to deal with the issue of veld fires,” he said.
He said the district has lost more hectares because of veld fires spreading from neighbouring districts especially Shurugwi.
Last year, a Somabula farmer John Makaya Masuku lost six tractors and bailing equipment worth thousands to a veld fire.
The Environmental Management Agency (EMA) fire risk model, has projected that the country is generally in the medium to high risk category ranging from 18.6% to 55.7%.
EMA Midlands spokesperson Oswald Ndlovu said the fire week launch was a means to upscale their campaign against veld fire.
He urged farmers to start construction of fireguards to combat the spread of veld fires.
Gweru, Kwekwe, Shurugwi, Gokwe and Chirumhanzu are high risk areas for veld fires in the Midlands.

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