Ghana: Brong-Ahafo Continues to Suffer From Bushfires

Brong-AhafoContinues to Suffer From Bushfires

28 February 2008

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Ghana — The Wenchi District of the Brong-Ahafo Region is carving anundesirable character for itself in terms of bushfires/wildfires during the dryseasons.

The District seems not to have learnt from the consequences of what happenedthree years ago, when an entire town, called Subinso, was totally burnt,rendering the people homeless and resulting in the loss of properties.

The Brong-Ahafo Regional Coordinating Council, and the District Assembly, aswell non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and other philanthropists spent time,energy and resources to help rebuild the town for the people.

Last year the District was lucky not to encounter a similar situation, butexperienced another terrible situation where farms and property were destroyedby fires.

The Regional and the District Anti-bushfire campaign teams have embarked onseveral sensitization programmes in the district, particularly in towns guiltyof setting fires indiscriminately.

The Wenchi Municipal Assembly has as well strengthened its bye-laws to dealwith people who flout the anti-bushfire bye-laws, to deter people from burningtheir farms without a permit from the District Fire Service, during the dryseason.

The Brong-Ahafo Students Union (BASU) also went to the district last year, tosensitize the people on the dangers of bushfires, and how to prevent them, butit all seems to have falling on deaf-ears.

This year’s situation is very devastating, because almost all the forest andplantations along the Sunyani-Wenchi road have been destroyed by bushfires andalso causing damage to electrical wooden-poles.

The Chronicle was disturbed when it witnessed the situation; about ten woodenelectricity poles along the road were burnt to ashes, while some hamlets by theroad were also burnt.

The fire nearly consumed a portion of the Yaya Forest Reserve but farms andother property along the roadsides were all destroyed. The people in the townsand villages along the Sunyani-Wenchi road could not identify the causes of thefire, but it is believed that, it could be anybody from one of the towns, beinga farmer, game hunters, palm-wine tapers or smokers.

What are the people in the area doing if they look on unconcerned for asingle selfish individual to destroy whole properties, and cause financial lossto the state, by burning the wooden electrical poles?

The burning of the bush would automatically call for the Volta RiverAuthority to turn off the electrical power, because the cables could causefatalities if there is power running through them on the bare ground.

The power outage, caused by the burning of the poles, would affectproductivity in the Wenchi District, since industries and other companies wouldnot have access to electricity, to work as expected, which would in turn have anadverse effect on the country’s economy.

It was observed that poles, which were situated in areas where the weeds havebeen cleared, were not affected, but those with bushy surroundings were burnt,therefore the VRA is being urged to hire casual labourers, to clear the weedsaround their wooden electricity poles to prevent them from being burnt, duringfire outbreaks.

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