Ghana — The Department of Forestry, in collaboration with the Brikama Area Council (BAC) and the Saint Joseph’s Family Farms, began on Wednesday 5 January 2011 a one-week anti-bushfire campaign in the West Coast Region. The campaign is aimed at creating awareness among the communities in the Region on the dangers of bushfires and the need to put in place measures to prevent and control them.
Expressing satisfaction at the initiative at Kampass Village in Foni Jarrol, Alhaji Kutubo Sanyang, chief of Foni Jarrol District, stressed that the protection and preservation of the forest is everyone’s business. “We should not spoil our forest because that is where we derive our livelihood,” he emphasised.
Samba Jarju, officer of the Gambia Fire and Rescue Service from the Kanilai Fire Service Station, said community fire safety should be of concern to all villagers. He advised hunters, beekeepers and smokers to aviod creating unnecessary fire outbreaks and urged communities to work together to extinguish fire when there is an outbreak.
Baboucarr Badgie, a senior revenue collector at the Forestry Deparment, appealed to communities not to allow bush fires to destroy their forests because they belong to them. He cautioned, “what bushfires can destroy in an hour, cannot be recoverd in ten years.”
He further cautioned, “without trees, there will be no rain and when there is no rain, there will be no harvest, and when there is no harvest, there will be no food, and when there is no food, the people will become unhealthy, fall sick, and life will be very difficult.”
Ousainou Cham, West Coast Region’s forestry officer, disclosed that there are many things that destroy the forest cover, but the most dangerous among them is bushfire and promised to punish anyone who destroys the forests with bushfires. He vowed to sensitisse his people on the importance of protecting the forests.
Abdoulie Sanneh, the director of Forestry, also advised the villagers to prevent bush fires by creating fire belts in their communities. He further advised them to clear their borders so that bush fires will not reach them and urged them to work together to control cross border fires.