NAMIBIA – Namibia estimates that approximately 2.5 million hectares of grazing land, including land on 604 farms and in many protected areas, have been affected by forest and veld fires according to the latest statistics, an official said Wednesday.
This has resulted in the destruction of infrastructure and properties, vast grazing areas and the loss of both humans and animals and it is estimated that approximately 635 animals have perished due to the forest and veld fires outside protected areas, said the Minister of Environment, Forestry and Tourism, Pohamba Shifeta during a cabinet update on Wednesday.
“While the commercial farms and communal areas have been particularly badly affected by the unplanned forest and veld fires, an estimated 487,732 hectares, approx. 22% of the Etosha National Park’s area has been affected by forest and veld fires in 2021.
According to Shifeta, this is an improvement compared to 60% of the total area burned in 2009 before the introduction of the patch-mosaic burning and firebreaks tool in the park.
Shifeta said the ministry continues to monitor the outbreaks of forest and veld fires nationwide based on remote sensing and aerial surveillance techniques.
“Daily updates are available on forest and veld fire outbreaks. In Etosha, it is notable that no mortalities of game nor injuries to humans and infrastructural damage have been recorded,” he said.
According to Shifeta, the main causes of the forest and veld fires have been charcoal production operations, mechanical appliances such as graders, recreational activities such as picnics, smokers, and local natural resource management-related activities such as hunting, honey production and thatch-grass harvesting.