Zimbabwean Authorities Step Up Action As Wildfires Feed Climate Change Cycle
As the dry season sets in, a season in which wildfires literally go wild, a joint public-private sector committee has begun mobilising resources to ramp up actions that prevent fires doing just that - going wild. Wildfires can be greatly destructive. They kill humans, biodiversity and ecosystems, and may feed the vicious climate change cycle. On average, wildfires have burnt down one million hectares of forest and grasslands each year in the past decade, authorities say. Now, while the size of land cover destroyed by fire dropped 11 percent to 1,5 million hectares in 2015 from the year before, according to environment regulator, the Environmental Management Agency (EMA), the National Fire Steering Committee is looking to raise $155 000 between now and May-end to bankroll a campaign that aims to keep veld fires (aka wildfires) on the low.
The committee - comprising Government, international development agencies, NGOs, private sector, media and academics - has convened a series of meetings in recent weeks ahead of the national fire week, which is held annually every second week of May.
The fire week is a transmitter of consciousness to the public antenna of ignorance on the dangers of starting uncontrolled fires, and the benefits of preventing such. Most of the fires in Zimbabwe are started during farming activities, and this usually happens between now until August as farmers prepare land for the summer cropping season that starts around December.