Bush fires destroy Ghanzi farms

Bush fires destroy Ghanzi farms

15 September 2009

published by www.gov.bw

Botswana — Bush fires that recently erupted at Ghanzi farms next to the Central Kalahari Game Reserve have left some farmers with no grazing land.

According to the senior technical officer in the department of Forestry and range Resources in Ghanzi, Mr Leabela Motlhagodi, the fires started last month destroying the wildlife management area (GH10), which is between the Ghanzi farms and the CKGR, before it crossed into some farms.

At some point, he said the fire became uncontrollable due to the moving winds.

Mr Molatlhegi said a team of government officers and community members from the area affected were able to put it off last week. Meanwhile, another fire was reported at Takatshwane farms in the Ghanzi South, at the time of writing the story.

Mr Motlhagodi noted that out of the three farms affected at Ghanzi farms, 80 per cent at one farm was destroyed while another farm had fifty per cent of its area destroyed.

He said no wildlife was destroyed while one cow was affected leading to its owner killing it.

He said the farmer whose farm was completely destroyed is afraid that there is no where to move his animals since the grazing land was destroyed.

Mr Motlhagodi pleaded with farmers to always maintain firebreaks in their farms saying at present, some firebreaks are not maintained.

Recently 30 officers from the Ghanzi district disaster management committee underwent training on fire suppression conducted by a team of fire instructors from Australia.

Mr Motlhagodi said during the recent fires they applied some of the techniques they learned from the Australians but added that mostly they used fire beaters to contain the fire.

Some techniques taught included the usage of fire beaters, sprayers, how to make firebreaks as well as using fire in a way to contain the burning fire. They were also told that there is need to have team leaders during fire suppression exercise such that people could be easily coordinated at fire scenes.

Some committee members noted a need to have resources such as water sprayers, and suitable vehicles. They also recommended a fire station in the district.

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