Cote d’Ivoire — The practice of starting bush fires that has been widespread in Cote d’Ivoire’s central region of Beoumi has left at least eight people dead, forest authorities said on Friday.
According to a senior forest guard in the area Siriki Ouattara, some residents were trapped by the bush fires in their farms or homes.
“The bush fires have equally destroyed over 300 hectares of forest plantations and led to the destruction of a lot of materials,” the officer said, while also appealing for more sensitization against the dangers of bush fires.
“Bush fires pose danger for human beings as well as for agricultural activities. All actors should be involved in the fight against this phenomenon,” the regional director for Water and Forests, lieutenant Brahima Coulibaly said.
The dry season is always perceived as a nightmare in some regions where bush fires destroy farmlands and also cause loss of human life.
The tradition of bush fires which is practiced in the central and northern regions of the country to drive away wild animals and sometimes to prepare farming fields, pose a danger to the people themselves, their farms and their environment.
The Cote d’Ivoire government has already issued a warning against the practice of bush fires due to its harmful effects.
In this regard, national sensitization campaigns have been launched to drastically end the practice.
Statistics from the forestry department show that since 2002 to 2013, bush fires have destroyed 450,000 hectares of forest, 250, 000 hectares of farmland and resulted into a loss of agricultural produce worth 89.5 million CFA Francs as well as loss of many lives.