Ghana — The number of fire outbreaks recorded in the Upper West Region have decreased from 117 in 2009 to 93 in 2010.
Total estimated cost of damage to properties stood at GH¢1,942,213 in 2009 and GH¢4,633 in 2010.
Fifty bush fires were recorded in 2009 while in 2010 bush fires accounted for only 19 of the total fires recorded during that year.
Assistant Chief Fire Officer (ACFO), Mr Joseph Kwesi Ahinsah, Regional Fire Officer disclosed this on Friday during the Regional Launch of the Anti Bush Fire Campaign at Jonga in the Wa Municipality.
He said the idea behind the launching of the Anti Bush Fire Campaign was to help reduce the rapid burning of the bush, protect lives and farms to enhance the economic development of the region.
He said the disadvantages of bush burning were the decline in soil fertility, desertification, lost of lives and properties as well as the destruction of economic and medicinal trees such as odum, mango, dawadawa and shea trees.
ACFO Ahinsah mentioned the activities of farmers, herdsmen, hunters, smokers and honey tapers as some of the major factors causing bush burning in the region.
He said to ensure that the anti bush fire campaign became a success, the district assemblies and traditional authorities must support the GNFS by strictly enforcing the bye-laws against bush burning.
He said the three major ways to combat bush fires were to embark on a massive public education campaign, encourage people to practice improved agricultural practices and enforcement of bush fire laws.
ACFO Ahinsah said this year the Wa Municipal Rural Fire Department was able to train 45 fire volunteers at Jonga to help fight bush burning.
He called for more support from the Regional Coordinating Council and the district assemblies and effective collaboration between NADMO, Environmental Protection Agency, Forestry Division, Water and Electricity Companies, NGOs, Chiefs and Religious leaders.
Alhaji Issahaku Salia, Upper West Regional Minister, in a speech read on his behalf, urged assembly men and women to make it a duty to fight bush burning by spearheading the enforcement of bye-laws on bush burning in their areas.
The Regional Minister suggested that awards should be given to communities that performed well in the prevention of bush fires to encourage more communities to wage war against bush burning.
Mr Yakubu Duogu, Municipal Chief Executive, appealed to the GNFS to extend the campaign to all the other districts to help save the environment.
Awards were given to six communities for their efforts in the prevention of bush fires.
They are Jonga, Babile Tanchara, Nandom Koo, Fian, Kendie and Suntaanutaa Agro Forestry.