Double land area burnt last year

Tanaka Mahanya

ENVIRONMENTAL Management Agency director general, Aaron Chigona, has said the land area burnt by veld fires last year was more than double that in 2021.

The majority of veld fires last year occurred in resettlement and protected areas such as safari and national parks.

He said this resulted in a 60.92 percent increase in the total area burnt compared to the 2021 baseline.

There were also fire cases before the season, with a total of 2 488 incidences recorded and 354 320 hectares burnt.

The A2 99 Year Farm Lease requires compliance with all laws pertaining to the proper and sustainable use and management of land, and lessees are required to have fire guards and fire fighting tools in place.

Collaborative efforts between EMA and the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water Fisheries, and Rural Resettlement are crucial for improved land productivity and fire and land management.

“A total of 7 511 veld fires, which burnt 753 055.9 hectares were recorded in 2022. This resulted in the loss of 18 lives as well as property,” Chigona said.

He said there have also been fire cases this year.

“Since the fire season began on July 31, a total of 412 fire incidences have been recorded and 34 194.31 hectares burnt.

“Section 9, subsection 9.2 states that all Lessees shall ensure that no unlawful and indiscriminate tree-felling or wood-cutting is practiced, report to the relevant authority the existence of noxious weeds, and maintain fire breaks.”

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