A Race Against the Flames: Zimbabwe Aims for Lower Veld Fire Devastation

-This year, the stakes are even higher. With the 2024 National Veld Fire Week launching a bit behind schedule on May 15th, the Environmental Management Agency (EMA) is setting a new target, to burn less than 700,000 hectares.

John Cassim

Harare, Zimbabwe –¬†Despite a valiant effort in 2023, Zimbabwe fell slightly short of its ambitious goal to reduce the area ravaged by veld fires. While the country targeted burning less than 800,000 hectares, the final tally reached 858,361.9 hectares, a respectable 50% decrease compared to 2022 but still 7% above the target.

This year, the stakes are even higher. With the 2024 National Veld Fire Week launching a bit behind schedule on May 15th, the Environmental Management Agency (EMA) is setting a new target, to burn less than 700,000 hectares.

The pressure is on. This year’s fire risk prediction paints a concerning picture. While a significant portion of the country falls under medium risk (18.6%), a much larger area (55.71%) faces high risk.

Even more alarming is the 13.27% of the land classified as extremely high risk, concentrated in provinces like Mashonaland Central, East, and West, along with Manicaland. Districts like Nyanga, Mutasa, and Makoni are particularly vulnerable.

The later launch of National Fire Week reflects a crucial adaptation. Climate change is causing seasonal shifts, and the official fire season, running from July 31st to October 31st, may no longer fully encompass the peak risk period.

In response, the Minister of Environment has extended the fire restriction period to encompass a wider window, from July 1st to November 30th, 2024.

“The fight against veld fires is a continuous race. With increased public awareness campaigns, stricter regulations, and a targeted approach to high-risk areas, Zimbabwe hopes to extinguish the flames and protect its environment and livelihoods for the future,” an EMA alert said on Friday.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top