Ghana — The Yaya Forest Reserve at Ayigbe in the Wenchi Municipality, has caught fire , destroying thousands of acres of timber species, cocoa and teak plantations running into million of Ghana Cedis.
When the Brong-Ahafo Regional Anti Bushfire Committee visited the forest, the fire had seriously spread to all parts of the forest.
Large acres of food stuffs and crops comprising maize, yam and cassava plantations cultivated on the shoulders of the forest had also been destroyed by the fire.
The Ghana News Agency (GNA) gathered that attempts by local fire volunteers and personnel from the Ghana National Fire Service to extinguish the fire were not successful due to the seriousness of the outbreak.
According to fire volunteers in the area, because they did not have Wellington boots and other logistics, they could not enter into the forest when the fire started..
The Brong-Ahafo Regional Rural Fire Co-ordinator, Assistant Divisional Officer Two, (ADOII) Prince Baffour Gyan told the GNA that the cause of the fire was not known, but said the activities of local charcoal burners could not be ruled out..
He said preliminary investigation had revealed that the source of the fire was traced from Ahyiayem, a farming community, near Chiraa in the Sunyani West District, and had traveled about 10-kilometre square.
ADO II Gyan expressed concern about lack of logistics and funds for the regional and districts anti-bushfire committees, which had made the committees dormant especially at the local levels.
He stated that the Provisional National Defence Council Law (PNDCL 229) mandated Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies to establish and fund anti bushfire committees but the assemblies had failed to comply.
ADOII Gyan, therefore, appealed to the various assemblies in the region, to support existing local anti bushfire committees in the discharge of their duties to curb outbreaks.
He disclosed that the Brong Ahafo region recorded 275 rural fires in the last harmattan season, cautioning that the ban on group hunting was still in force and that culprits would be prosecuted.
He advised farmers to be wary of handling naked fires, and cautioned palm wine tappers and cigarette smokers to handle fire with utmost care. GNA