National guidelines on Forest Fire Management in Namibia

National Guidelines on Forest Fire Management in Namibia
Final Draft 31 March/2001

(IFFN No. 25 – July 2001)


The extent of occurrence of forest fires in Namibia in recent years, especially during year 2000, shows that fire management efforts have to be strengthened throughout the country. Only East Caprivi has been able to show promising reduction in burned areas since the pilot efforts on Forest Fire Management started there in 1996.

In areas outside Eastern Caprivi, results have been slow in coming. One of the main reasons for the slow response is the lack of institutional capacity in the Directorate of Forestry (D.o.F.) itself. The same applies to the Agricultural Extension staff as well as the staff of the Directorate of Resource Management working outside Etosha. Some of the National Parks like Etosha have well established guidelines on Fire Management whereas others; like Mamili, Mudumu, Kaudom etc. are totally burned year after year. The Malengalenga-Liyambezi peat lands are also burned annually, through agricultural practices. This shows that the properties of peat are unknown among agricultural extensionists.

The outdated forest legislation has also been lacking in specific areas e.g. on guidelines for Forest Fire Management both in communal as well as in commercial farm areas. The uncertainty regarding fire management directives also applies to the Ministry of Regional, Local Government and Housing which Ministry, by and large, is responsible for all fire management activities in Namibia.

With the inception in 1996 of the Namibia’s Forestry Strategic Plan, the path was opened for community participation in local management of Forest Fires. These participation efforts were soon named Integrated Forest Fire Management activities or IFFM activities.

On the behalf of the Namibia-Finland Forestry Programme (NFFP) and its component on Integrated Forest Fire Management (IFFM) we would like to acknowledge the valuable contribution to the process of preparing the National Guidelines on Forest Fire Management for Namibia by the following persons:

Project Steering Committee:

Dr. H.O. Kojwang  Director of Forestry, Chairman
Dr. Alex Verlinden  Remote sensing Specialist, NFFP
Mr. Kari Alanko  Councellor Embassy of Finland, Windhoek
Ms. Sinikka Antila Councellor/Chargé d´Affaires,  Embassy of Finland, Windhoek
Mr. Moses Chakanga  National Co-ordinator for NFFP
Mr. Tomi Tuomasjukka Acting Consultant Team Leader, NFFP
Mr. Harri Seppänen Consultant Team Leader, NFFP
Ms. Marja-Ojanen-J Education Specialist NFFP/Ogongo
Mr. Joseph Hailwa Deputy Director, Directorate of Forestry
Mr. Osman Y. Hamid Education Specialist, Forest Department Head, Ogongo
Mr. Mike Jurvélius Forest Fire Specialist, NFFP
Mr. Dennis Sikabongo Fire Chief, Katima Mulilo
Mr. Carlos Salinas  Community Forestry Specialist, NFFP
Mr. Thomas Selänniemi  Forest Inventory Specialist, NFFP
Mr. Jussi Viitanen   Environmental Forestry Specialist, NFFP                      

National Persons Consulted:

Mr. Bernhard Sibalatani  Governor of Caprivi Region
Ms. G. Uushona  Governor Otjozondjupa Region
Ms. Anneli Shishome  Chief Forester, north-west, D.o.F
Mr. Simeon Hengari  Forester, north-east , D.o.F.
Mr. Giovanni Schoeman Emergency Officer, City of Windhoek Emergency Services
Mr. Chris Hines   Development Biologist, Windhoek
Mr. Bornbright Lilungwe Traditional Authorities, Silalo Induna, Caprivi
Mr. Walter Piepmeyer Forestry Officer , Otjozondjupa, D.o.F.
Mr. Johan le Roux  Remote Sensing & GIS Specialist, Etosha
Mr. Konrad van Heerden Senior Inspector, Ministry of Basic Education, Sports & Culture
Mr. Alex Musiyalela Director of Caprivi Drama Group
Mr. Kasiwa Mukenani S. Painter; Caprivi Arts and Cultural Association

International Consultants:

Prof. Dr. Johann G. Goldammer
Prof. Dr. Winston Trollope

Ms. Evelien Kamminga
Ms. Merja Mäkelä
Mr. Simeon Trigg

Other contributors:

Dr. Ritva Kivikkokangas-S. Professor, University of Helsinki, Deptm. of Development Geography  
Ms. Krista Virtanen MSc-thesis work on Forest Fire attitudes (in Caprivi), University of Wolwerhampton.

The Ministry of Environment and Tourism through its Directorate of Forestry wishes to thank all the people listed above and additionally many others who’s names do not appear above for their valuable contribution to these National Guidelines on Forest Fire Management in Namibia.

These new National Guidelines on Forest Fire Management are expected to become a yardstick for all Forest Fire Management activities in the country in the future.

We hope that these new Guidelines will be useful in developing suitable practices for sustainable forest management in Namibia.

Windhoek, April 2001
Chairman of Project Steering Committee

Dr. H.O. Kojwang
Director of Forestry


CACA   Caprivi Arts and Cultural Association
CBO  Community based organization
CBRM    Community based resource management
CEC  Constituency Emergency Committee
DFO District Forest Officer
DRM  Directorate of Resource Management
D.o.F. Directorate of Forestry
EOU  Emergency Operational Unit
ECE United Nations Economic Commission for Europe
FAO  Food and Agricultural Organization of United Nations
FBSO Fire Brigades Service Ordinance
FDO  Forestry District Office
FPA   Fire Protection Association
GFMC      Global Fire Monitoring Center
GPTF  Game Product Trust Fund
IFFM    Integrated Forest Fire Management
IFFN      International Forest Fire News (FAO/ECE)
ILO  International Labour Organization of United Nations
Induna     Village elder or village chief
Induna Silalo    District Village Chief
ITTO      International Tropical Timber Organization
Khuta      Council of Village or District Chiefs
LIKWAMA     Local farmers union in Caprivi
MBESC Ministry of Basic Education, Sports and Culture
MET Ministry of Environment and Tourism
MRLGH  Ministry of Regional, Local Government and Housing
NamPol  Namibian Police
NBC Namibian Broadcasting Corporation
NDF Namibian Defense Forces
NEMC  National Emergency Management Council
NEMU National Emergency Management Unit
Neudamm Agricultural College of the University of Namibia
NFFP Namibia-Finland Forestry Programme
NFF   National Fire Forum
NGO Non-governmental organization
Ogongo   Agricultural College of the University of Namibia
PO  People’s organization
REC Regional Emergency Committee
SADC Southern African Development Community
TAA Traditional Authorities Act
UNEP  United Nations Environmental Programme
WHO World Health Organization
WMO World Meteorological Organization






Country Notes
IFFN No. 25

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