FIRE MANAGEMENT TIPS
VELD fires are blazes that get out of control and become wild, and in the process destroy extensive tracts of forests, grasslands, animals, people and their properties. This frequent burning has implication on carbon stocks and emissions, wildlife habitat; human health and life as well as livelihoods.Veld fires are a problem because they pose a risk to life, property and the environment.
The “Fire Season” Veld fire behaviour depends on the moisture status of the veld and prevailing whether conditions. Violent fires result when the veld is dry coupled with hot —windy weather conditions. The spring season (1 August to 31 October) is usually characterised by hot and windy days and coincides with the period when most grasses will be dry and deciduous trees would have shed their leaves. This period is popularly termed the “Fire season” because of the high risk of veld fire outbreaks and is when most veld fires are experienced. Common Causes of Veld fires
Most veld fires result from the activities of man such as: Improper household ash disposal Deliberate lighting of fires/arson Children playing with matches
Reckless disposal of lit cigarette stubs especially by motorists
Lighting fire at road servitudes whilst waiting for early morning buses
What is veld fire management? Veld fire management is the process of planning, preventing and fighting fires to protect the environment, life and property. This is an integral part of forest management to attain forestry, wildlife and land-use objectives. Construction of fire guards should be on the calendar of all land users and/or property owners each and every year to comply with Section 15(1) of Statutory Instrument No. 7 of 2007. This makes it mandatory to put in place standard fireguards as pre-suppression measures which prevent fires from spreading.
Best Practices in Fire Management These are measures which should be put in place before the occurrence of a veldt fire to curb and prevent their rapid spread and the associated destruction.
Fire-fighting equipment should be at hand or in areas which are easily accessible through out the fire season.
Form fire-fighting teams or committees which can educate the local people on the best practices to use whilst putting out veld fires in your communities.
The community should also monitor the areas from which most of the veld fires originate from in so that they will not be caught off-guard.
Construct standard fireguards which are at least 9metres wide on either side of a boundary line/ fence using either the tractor, ox-drawn plough or hoeing methods.
The communities should put in place fire warning systems like bells in order to warn the local inhabitants about a veld fire. What does the Law Say? According to Forest Act (Cap 19:05) as read with Statutory Instrument 7 of 2007 Environmental Management (Environmental Impact Assessment and Ecosystems Protection) Regulations state that:
It is the duty of the land user, owner or designated authority to put in place fire prevention measures;
No person shall deliberately cause a fire outside residential or commercial premises during the fire season (31 July – 31 October).
The land user, owner, farmer, lessee or designated authority is responsible for extinguishing all fires on their property regardless of the origin of the fire: and
In case of a fire outbreak any person within the vicinity of the fire other than the user or the owner of that land must extinguish the fire
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