Climate ChangeEnvironment

EMA Statement on Fire Season 2020

Since the beginning of the 2020 fire season on 31st July 2020, a total of 320 fire incidences
burning175259.

91 hectares of land have been recorded.During the same period in 2019,
a total of 210530.74 hectares were burnt from 549 fire incidences recorded, which
translates to – 16.75% decrease in area burnt same period in 2020. The most affected
provinces to date are Mashonaland West where 39.8% of veldfires loses were recorded,
followed by Mashonaland Central (18.2%) and Mashonaland East(17.1%).Unfortunately,
as at 31 August 2020, one(I) death of a male adult has been recorded associated with a
veldfire in Mushingaidzwa Village, ward10 of Chegutu districton the19th ofAugust 2020.
The deceased was using fire to clear land for cultivation purposes ,and then the fire went out
of control. The deceased tried to put out the fire and it is suspected that he suffocated due to
the smoke. During the same period in 2019, demise of 2 people was attributed to veldfires,
thus translating to -50% decrease in human fatalities. Chidren playing with fire remain one
common cause of veldfires, following a minor aged 7 who started a fire recently that
destroyed 40ha of land and GMB property at Tafuna area in Shamva. The country is targeting
an 25% reduction and lost to veld fires this 2020 fire season.
The Agency has since onset of the fire season issued 8 ticket sand opened 3 dockets against
fire offenders. Also, the Agency is working with communities to prevent spread of veld fires
and reduce associated losses. The Agency is supporting communities in Hurungwe, Mbire,
Muzarabani, and several other fire prone areas with equipment and technical expertise on
biomass reduction to prevent veldfires. Awareness programmes are still progressing in the
same areas to sensitise communities on veld fire prevention. All landowners and communities
are reminded that it is a punishable offence to fail to put standard fireguards around land properties during the fire season. The public is also urged not to start fires outside residential
and business premises during the fire season, and assist in the putting out fires to reduce
damage. Failure to comply with all these will attracts a fine or imprisonment; or both fine
and imprisonment.
The veld is now dry and weather conditions are hot and windy, thus very conducive for veld
fires to occur. Let’s prevent veldfires and protect lives, property and the environment. A well
protected environment which is free from veldfires remains key to the nation’s agricultural
productivity, tourism growth as well as the provision of ecological goods and services which
support community livelihood.

Tendai Guvamombe