Ghana — It is the dry season, that time of the year when wild bush fires gut many farmlands and wreak havoc on the environment. It is one menace that refuses to go away, in spite of massive education through the media and local communication channels throughout the country.
Uncontrolled bush fires, reported state-run Ghanaian Times yesterday, destroyed a 70-acre maize and rice farm in the Chireponi District of the Northern Region last week. The pathetic picture of a farmer looking on as his entire farmland was consumed by fire, told the story of helplessness.
The farmer, whose name was given as Mr. Jejeri, told the newspaper that the food crops on the farm were due to be harvested when fire gutted the entire farmland.
Fire, they say is a good servant, but also a bad master. When controlled, fire could be used for several energy devices. Out of control, it is a monstrous destroyer and killer. That is why it is very dangerous for people to set bush fires and abandon them to their fate.
In most cases of bush fires, the setting is done by adventure-seeking people, trapping animals for food. Invariably, those who set these fires abandon them to the wind, which blows the fire in all sorts of directions.
In the grasslands of the north and scrublands of South-Eastern Ghana, bush fires are sources of very serious damages. With the dry season with us, the plain lands of northern Ghana and places in Brong Ahafo, Ashanti and the Accra Plains of the Central, Greater Accra and Southern end of the Volta Region, would have to brace themselves for ravaging bush fires.
The Chronicle is appealing to the Ghana National Fire Service to begin an extensive education on the control of bush fires right now. Early and extensive education on how to control bush fires would be of use to all of us. The various local authorities would have to get on board on the education drive on bush fires, as the Harmattan bites deep.
We would like to believe that bye-laws on bush fires standing in statutory books in various the communities would be applicable. If local people get to know that as a result of setting bush fires, some members of the community have been dealt with seriously, people would think twice before setting these fires.
The Chronicle is asking all Ghanaians to be vigilant. We should all look out for suspicious characters on hunting expeditions. They are a major source of wild bush fires, many of which burn uncontrollably. Chiefs and opinion leaders in the various communities ought to be alert, and look out for criminals causing more havoc by setting fires in the bush.
The degradation of the environment triggers climate changes, which, in our case, is responsible for the desertification of our lands in the north, especially. We must all be educated on the harmful effects of setting bush fires.
We should not destroy our environment in search of bush meat. In some instances, bush fires are even set for fun. Whatever, it is, it is injurious to healthy living. That is why we must all resolve not to set bush fires, this time round.
The recalcitrant few, who would still defy common sense and bring havoc to the system through bush fires, must be identified and made to pay for their sins. It is not in anybodys interest to set bush fires!