The environment ministry has assured the public that the fire that broke out last week south of the Etosha National Park is not as bad as it seemed and is in fact regarded as a management tool for vegetation.
The ministry’s spokesperson, Romeo Muyunda, yesterday said the fire started outside the Etosha National Park.
He, however, assured the public that the fire does not present any danger to wildlife inside the park.
“A fire started south of Etosha last week. It went inside the park but is not a big fire. So, we let it burn because we have fire breaks that are serviced. We let it burn that block as part of the management tool to manage the vegetation there,” he noted.
However, he indicated the ministry staff are monitoring the fire to ensure it does not burn beyond the expected area and that no infrastructural or property damage is caused as a result.
He said the moment it gets to the end of the said block, environment officials will extinguish it.
In an attempt to address forest fires, the environment ministry commenced with its national fire management programme to detect, prevent and suppress fires in anticipation of the fire season from July to January each year.
Muyunda said due to the threat posed by fire, particularly in the conservation of forest resources, including wildlife, the ministry considers fire management of national importance.
According to him, every year, forest fires burn about two million hectares of vegetation in fire-prone regions, threatening lives and property, as well as degrading the environment.
But under the management strategy, he said, more effort is placed on education and training local communities to hone their firefighting skills and establish fire community-based fire crews to assist in cases of fire outbreaks.
Training involves fire behaviour, its effect, prevention, firefighting, and management.
Currently, the environment ministry is in the process of servicing and repairing firefighting engines and complementary machinery.
Further, the directorate has conducted a needs assessment and is in the process of ordering additional firefighting equipment to reach out to all fire-prone corners of the country.