BY JAIROS SAUNYAMA
MASHONALAND East recorded a 30% increase in veld fires between 2020 and 2021.
Provincial Environmental Management Agency (EMA) Juliet Mavu said heavy rains in the 2020/2021 season contributed to the increase in veld fires.
“As a province we are concerned that our target was to reduce the area burnt to 25 percent from 73 330 hectares in 2020 but increased by 30 percent. Resettlement areas are the most affected,” Mavu said.
“High biomass due to heavy rains received in the 2020/ 2021 summer season contributed to high fuel load and fire could not be contained.”
A total of four people died due to veld fires in the province.
“At least four people died last year due to veld fires. These are an elderly man from Chikomba District and three siblings from Seke who got burnt in their house from a fire which started in a nearby wetland,” said Mavhu.
Meanwhile, EMA has begun engaging stakeholders on fireguard construction to avert the disastrous effects of veld fires.
“We have begun awareness campaigns on issues surrounding veld fires. We are working well with schools, farmers and other stakeholders as we approach the fire season,” she said.