By Canisius Mushibwe
Zimbabwe has recorded close to a 90 percent increase in veld fires which have seen three lives lost.
The Environmental Management Agency (EMA) confirmed that an 84,97% increase in veld fire cases has been noted compared to last year during the same period.
The statistics are alarming, with the current fire season set to end on October 31st. About 1,517 incidences were recorded from July 31 when the season commenced, translating to 403 366.7 hectares as compared to 385 incidences in 2020 covering 220 000 hectares.
EMA Education and Publicity manager Amkela Sidange said the veld fires have destroyed agricultural produce, equipment, household property, and plantations at a cost of about US$ 187,000.
“The current trends in veld fire incidents require increased effort by all stakeholders to prevent them, mobilize the local structures to put out the fires, and report the culprits to law enforcement agencies,” Sidange said.
She implored calls on farmers not to attempt clearing fireguards using fires as the weather is windy, dry and hot, making it easy for veld fire outbreaks. Sidange said the fires have also claimed three lives this year compared to one lost last year.
The three fatalities include a 59-year-old from Zvimba and two siblings aged three and six from Hurungwe.