Every year, forest fires burn about two (2) million hectares of vegetation in fire-prone regions threatening lives, property and degrading the environment. Seasonal occurring of forest fires is frequently damaging vegetation in all fire prone regions leading to a loss in valuable resources. Severe fires also disrupt the ecosystem and affect natural processes which may be crucial in sustaining our livelihoods.
Because of the threat posed by fire, the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism is appealing to public, landowners and other stakeholders to take collective responsibility in managing fire. The Ministry is seeking the cooperation of the public to assist with fighting fires where and when required. Furthermore, the public is called upon to use fire responsibly to avoid destructive fires that cause damages to both properties and the environment. It is advised that community carry out slash and burn or crop field clearing in late afternoon from 18h00 onwards and early morning hours until 09h00.
The Ministry have noted with great concern that, most of the time, destructive fire is caused by human carelessness, irresponsible behavior or attitudes. So far this year, the country have reported serious fire incidences in the following regions: Omusati, Kavango West, Otjozondjupa, Oshikoto, Zambezi and Kavango East. Members of the public, farmers/landowners and all stakeholders are called upon to put in place necessary fire prevention measures such as developing fire cutlines and breaks in and around their properties as well as to have in place basic firefighting tools to assist in case a fire occurs.
The Ministry is requesting members of the public to observe the following in quest to manage fire effectively:
- Members of the public are required to use fire responsibly.
- Parents must guide their children to avoid using fires without supervision.
- Before starting a fire, check the surrounding to assess the risk of burning beyond the intended area.
- Where required, put in place preventative measures to stop the fire from spreading to unintended places.
- Smokers should kill their cigarette stumps completely before throwing them.
- People using fires for domestics’ purposes such as cooking, heating, camping etc, must ensure that fires are totally extinguished afterwards.
- When using fire to clear a specific area, ensure that relevant official are informed e.g Nature conservation/Forestry officials and NamPol.
- Let’s continuously educate ourselves on the dangers caused by forest/bush fires.
- Report wildfire to forestry officials near you.
- Let’s all assist in extiquishing fires when burning in our surroundings.
Members of the public are requested to report any fires as soon as possible for swift response at 061 208 7291 during working hours or +264 81 1444 878 after hours and weekends. Communities and farmers are called upon to organise themselves in small groups and suppress fire with basic tools while awaiting forestry