Zimbabwe at greater risk of veldt fire outbreaks: minister

A family of elephants march in a straight line across the landscape of Hwange National Park. Hwange, Zimbabwe.
A family of elephants march in a straight line across the landscape of Hwange National Park. Hwange, Zimbabwe. Excessive rainfaill in recent months has resulted in overgrown vegetation, which is now posing a risk of wild fires. 

Zimbabwe faces a greater risk of veldt fire outbreaks this year, said the country’s Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa on Tuesday.

Due to excessive rainfalls in the 2020/2021 agricultural season, most areas of the country have been overgrown with weeds, shrubs and other plants, which dry out and become flammable in the dry seasons.

“This year, the country is generally in the high-risk category of 65.2 percent to the extreme risk category of 24.7 percent of veldt fires outbreaks countrywide,” she said at a press briefing, adding that uncontrolled veldt fires remained the most threatening factor for Zimbabwe’s forests, pastures, croplands, property, infrastructure and food security.

The cabinet has approved the 2021 veldt fire management strategies.

“All local authorities are required to come up with plans for veldt fire management. Furthermore, there is need for controlled early block burning in State protected areas and private estates, as well as road servitude grass cutting and maintenance by all road authorities,” she said.