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Bush fires destroy large swaths of grazing

Bush fires destroy large swaths of grazing

Niël Terblanché

FARMERS all over Namibia have been battling hard to get bush fires driven by strong winds under control over large parts of Namibia.

 

The latest fires erupted in the area of Otjiwarongo while farmers at Dordabis and Nina have tirelessly battled fires for the past two days.

 

Strong winds have been the main opponent for farmers and volunteers that used a lot of resources to get the raging flames under control.

 

Some of the fires started when farmers were pre-burning certain swathes of land in the hope to prevent bigger fire. Strong winds scuppered their plans when these fires got out of control fast.

 

  • Bush fires destroy grazing Namibia winds under control

 

Some of the fires have been caused by people manufacturing charcoal. Again strong winds picked up some of the burning material and ignited the surrounding grass and bushes.

 

Thousands of hectares of grazing in the area of Witvlei but the fires have been brought under control with help from other farmers and volunteers. In some instances, soldiers from the Namibian Defence Force also helped with bringing the fires under control.

 

A fire in the die Etosha National Park destroyed about 2 500 hectares of grazing in the area of Namutoni and Halali.

 

A lodge on a farm adjacent to the park has also sustained damage when two structures burned down after it was ignited by a bush fire.

 

Fires were also reported in the Kavango East Region and even southern Angola which causes a haze of smoke over other parts of Namibia.

 

The Minister of Environment, Forestry, and Tourism, Pohamba Shifeta while addressing the Parliament last week said that more than two million hectares of grazing were destroyed by fire since January.

 

“Fires cause massive damage to the environment and leads to losses of natural resources. In some cases, the ecosystem is damaged which leads to the interruption of certain natural processes which leads to losses of income for households dependent on such resources for survival,” Shifeta told parliamentarians.

 

Last week a farmer and two workers sustained injuries when they were cornered by a fire on a farm near Outjo. These are the only injuries that have been reported since the bush fires started.

 

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