Farmers warned against veld fires

Farmers warned against veld fires

UUVUDHIYA – Northern communal farmers, particularly from Uuvudhiya constituency, have been urged to take necessary precautions to avoid further spreading of veld fires that have destroyed grazing and property over the past few weeks.

The warning comes from concerned councillors, farmers and traditional leaders in the Oshana and Omusati regions, where veld fires have been reported since last month.

In one incident, a motor car was burned to ashes.

Uuvudhiya constituency councillor Timoteus Shivute said, it is suspected that the fire started after the heat produced by the car caught the grasses, resulting in its fuel tank’s explosion.

“Over the years, veld fires had virtually erased grazing areas, leaving poor communal farmers with no pastures for their animals,” he said.

He added that some of the fires are caused by herders who discard cigarettes or tobacco butts, and those who do not extinguish fires completely after cooking.

Veld fires have also been experienced in other parts of the country.

“Last week, a fire was reported in the mountains on the outskirts of Eros, but the city of Windhoek put down the fire,’’ said environment ministry spokesperson Romeo Muyunda.

He noted that as the vegetation dries due to the winter, it becomes flammable.

“We want to caution that the fire season is upon us. People should apply caution when always using fire. For as much as fire is a useful tool, it can be very destructive,’’ he advised. He also reminded people to implement fire prevention measures in their properties, which include clearing cutlines or fire breaks, using fire with caution, not disposing of cigarette butts with active fires and closely monitoring any use of fire.