Coast Villagers Lament Constant Bushfires

Coast Villagers Lament Constant Bushfires

10 October 2012

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Tanzania– RESIDENTS of Misufini Village in Kongowe Ward, Coast Region, have cried foul over repeated outbreaks of wildfires in the area, which are caused by various human activities, including farm preparation, hunting, honey gathering and charcoal burning.

Several residents interviewed by the ‘Daily News’ said the wildfires occur largely during the dry season, causing much concern among residents who fear losing their property through uncontrolled fires.Other areas believed to contribute to the fire outbreaks are mining, pit sawing and grazing.

The worst such incident occurred on September 27, involving more than 100 acres of cultivated land, some of which had crops that were nearing harvest. One resident, Dr Cyprian Mwasha, lost 20 acres planted with mango, coconut and cashewnut trees through a wildfire started by unidentified people.

“This is the third time in three consecutive years that wildfires have destroyed crops in this area. Several farms have been affected and it seems there is no serious effort by the community and district authorities to contain the situation,” Dr Mwasha charged.

He added that previously, the parties affected had proposed solutions, including the establishment of traditional guards to check against such activities that result in wildfires,’ he explained.He opined that deliberate measures should be taken by the government and other environment stakeholders to educate people on the effects of wildfires.

Another resident, Mr John Kimaro, is equally aggrieved. He lost 25 acres as a result of the fires last month that razed his teak wood plantation, orange, guava and mango trees, pineapples and newly-planted coconut trees.”It is extremely difficult to control wildfires due to lack of facilities and strong winds that make fires spread quickly. I am devastated.

A permanent solution is needed to end this menace,” Mr Kimaro suggested. A team of researchers recently concluded that the major setback to forest fire management is lack of information regarding fire regimes and its effects on the environment and the communities as a whole.



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