Fire devours Tsumkwe West vegetation

21 Aug 2013 04:00
TSUMKWE, 21 AUG (NAMPA) – A forest ranger at Tsumkwe on Monday expressed worry about the veld fires which have continued to destroy huge tracts of communal land in Tsumkwe West since mid-July this year.
Patrick Sankwasa told Nampa here that a day does not pass without his office receiving reports that fire had broken out fiercely in one or other area of Tsumkwe West.
He said although his office conducted some awareness campaigns on fire this year in the Tsumkwe Constituency, Tsumkwe West continues to suffer the vicious fire break-outs.
“The veld fire cut-lines had been cleared off in the area already in an attempt to stop the flames from crossing over to other land and burning the whole area, but huge portions of communal land here still continue to be destroyed by fire,” he explained.
Sankwasa said fire is often seen burning first from the deepest bushes, moving towards the villages late at night.
“We also don’t have fire-fighting trucks. Therefore, I think it is now time for our traditional leaders to also talk to community members not to start fires. Some vegetation has been destroyed completely, and I suspect that it will not recover from this fire,” he noted.
Sankwasa warned that according to the Forest Fire Management Control Act of 2001, Act no. 12 of 2001, no person should cause fire to be lit in a communal or commercial area, unless the lighting of such fire is done in accordance with a fire management plan.
Section 55 (Forestry) of the Criminal Procedures’ Act of 1977 authorises forestry officers to open a criminal case against any arsonist.
Since 2001, there has been no arrest of any arsonist in the Tsumkwe area as culprits are not often known.
“However, it is always alleged here that poachers, cattle herders and smokers normally lit fires in this constituency,” he charged.