Zimbabwe– At least six people were killed by veld fires, while property worth thousands of dollars was destroyed last week alone.
EMA Manicaland manager Mr Kingstone Chitotombe confirmed the development and said this years fire incidences had surpassed those recorded last year.
Mr Chitotombe said two minors were burnt to death at Mt Shalom Farm in Chipembere after the uncontrolled fires torched the Mukamba homestead last Thursday.
The two minors were identified as Elton (3) and Anopa Mukamba (4).
The children were asleep when fire engulfed the entire homestead.
Household property, small livestock, solar panels and a tobacco nursery, among other valuables, belonging to the family were also destroyed.
Reports from Chimanimani indicate that three people were burnt to death around Charter Estate. One person was killed by the fires in Nyanga.
Mr Chitotombe also revealed that the Chinamasa and Mare homesteads in Fairview, Old Mutare, were almost reduced to ashes.
Though a few valuables were saved, owing to swift reaction from the community, expensive farming and mining equipment was destroyed.
Mrs Mary Chinamasa blamed her predicament on game poachers.
There is one hunter identified as Giant from Tsvingwe who has nearly 50 dogs. He starts fires during his hunting escapades to entrap animals. He was spotted last Friday in the mountains before the fire started, so it must be him who started the fire. We really hope justice will prevail because we cannot just lose our lifetime investment in the fire just like that, said a distraught Mrs Chinamasa.
Police are investigating the matter.
In Old Mutare again, at Lamour Estate, Mr Roger Barry lost his 11ha of wheat (an estimated 90 tonnes) to veld fire last Saturday.
Grain Marketing Board buys wheat at $466 per tonne and this translates to a loss of about $41 940. At Palmer Farm in Penhalonga nearly 20 hectares of wheat were written off in another veld fire incident.
We spent over three hours trying to extinguish the fire and lost 11ha.
The fire could have destroyed my entire yield if we had not reacted on time. I have lost a fortune here, said Mr Barry on Monday.
The fire season begins on July 31 and ends on October 31 and during this window people are prohibited from starting fires outside their premises.
During this period it will be windy, the grass is dry and there are very high temperatures, so fires catch easily.
We know farms like Lamour Estate have good fire breaks but due to the current heat wave recording excessively high temperatures, fires spread easily, said Mr Chito- tombe.
He added that as EMA they were doing campaigns throughout the year, but each year the hectarage of land destroyed by veld fires was increasing.
We will engage all stakeholders and investigate why there is still an increase in veld fires despite immense campaigns each year. Maybe some cases are arson-related, said Mr Chitotombe.