23 May 2016
WE are now entering the dry winter season and care must be taken to avoid starting fires.
A fire should always be started in a controlled environment and should be manageable all the time and the season that we are entering is one to particularly pay attention to this counsel.
Starting a fire in the open â€“ especially veld fire â€“ is discouraged as the fire can easily shoot out of control in these cold and windy conditions.
If one is starting a fire in an urban setting, a lot of caution still needs to be exercised. People need to be aware of their surroundings.
If you know that there is fuel, oil or other inflammable liquids in the vicinity, starting a fire should not be an option.
If there is a sparse of open land with dry vegetation nearby, it is also unwise to start a fire.
The public should also exercise caution when dealing with fire.
Unless you are familiar with the place, you should not mill around the vicinity of a fire.
Some years ago, a fuel tanker had an accident in Sunningdale, Harare, and it overturned.
Many people from the suburb started draining fuel from the tanker and the result was a tragic accident.
The tanker caught fire and most people were burnt beyond recognition after trying to profiteer from the accident.
But no profit or curiosity is bigger than your life and people must not take risks when dealing with fire.
It is wise to let people who were trained to handle fires â€“ like the fire brigade â€“ deal with the inferno and if one is that curious, they can always come to view the aftermath than risk oneâ€™s life.
The winter and spring months are popular for the wild winds and the dry conditions that make it dangerous for people to start fires, especially in open environments like farming fields.
Every year, Zimbabwe losses over 1 million hectares of forests due to uncontrolled fires and it will take years to restore those forests and what they are worth.
Meanwhile more veld fires will be storming out of control this season and more millions of hectares of forests will be destroyed.
If this circle continues, soon this once-green nation will become a desert. It is time everyone â€“ from the kindergartens to the elderly â€“ is educated on the risks of starting fires this season.
It is time people know the value of the forests that are constantly destroyed through veld fires and the amount of time it takes to develop these forests.
Forests are an important resource that Zimbabwe is fast running out of. Besides resettlement and conversion of forests to farming lands, veld fire is an even faster means of destroying forests.
The destruction means recycling of wood products, and the conversion of biomass to energy would become impossible.
Also destroyed would be all other forest operations that see to it that schools have stationery and offices and homes all over the country have furniture.