WINDHOEK, Sept. 10 — Namibia recorded 99 wildfire outbreaks countrywide that burned 508,480 hectares of land from May to September this year, Pohamba Shifeta, the country’s environment minister, said Wednesday.
Shifeta said this on the occasion of the situation update of wildfires in the country to the cabinet, adding that the frequency, intensity, and extent of wildfires annually have become a serious concern.
“It is worrisome to observe that the country continues to report fire incidents destroying properties and the environment and putting people’s lives in danger. Severe fires also disrupt the ecosystem and affect natural processes, which may be crucial in sustaining our livelihoods,” he added.
Shifeta said as part of the strategy to fight fires, the ministry has started with the internationally accepted practice of the prescribed early burning mechanism which is the pre-planned ignition of fire for specific purposes such as fuel reduction, habitat modification, and improvement of natural resources and removal of encroacher bush.
“Additionally, the ministry facilitates the preparation of extensive networks of firebreaks annually and to this effect, we are busy clearing firebreaks in most of the fire-prone regions,” he said.
Shifeta meanwhile urged members of the public, farmers/landowners, and all stakeholders to put in place necessary fire prevention measures such as fire cut lines or fire breaks, while encouraging the early reporting of wildfires to forestry offices nearby.