The Environmental Management Agency (EMA) in Zimbabwe will with effect from 31 July 2013 begin to fine premises without standard fireguard protection mechanisms in a bid to control the problem of indiscriminate veld fires which are causing huge loss of property, according to Steady Kangata, EMA Environmental Education and Publicity Manager.
Kangata said Zimbabwe usually experiences problems of veld fires which are also a threat to people’s lives and animals during the end of July and October each year.
During these periods, EMA staff are usually on alert countrywide to try to contain problems of veld fires which are usually ignited by unknown individuals through reckless behaviour.
“During this period every year, the grass will be dry and it will be very hot.We witness an increase in incidences of veld fires in the country,” Kangata said.
The EMA is mandated under the Forest Act 19:05 and the EIA and ecosystems protection Act to monitor and control the spread of veld fires.
Kangata says as from 31 July 2013, EMA will begin fining premises in peri-urban,urban,industrial and farming communities to enforce fire protection mechanisms.
He said that those found violating the law will be prosecuted and fined $5000 for the offence.
The EMA is also reported to have set up fireguard construction demonstration sites in each district of the country to enable citizens to acquire knowledge on fire protection mechanisms.
Kangata says veld fires are also usually caused by natural occurrence or anthropogenic (human induced causes). The natural causes are usually related to climate change.
The EMA reports that in Zimbabwe, as of 2012, 1 300 000 hectares of land were destroyed by sporadic and uncontrolled veld fires.
Kangata said when EMA was established in 2007, it initiated fire awareness programmes which resulted in fire incidences decline in 2011.