Government has raised concern over this year’s upsurge in uncontrolled fires that have reportedly consumed over 1,2 million hectares of land whilst killing 18 people.
According to recent statistics, the area burnt in 2022 increased by 58.6 percent compared to the same period in 2021.
As at 12 October 2022, a total of 5,386 fire incidents were reported and had burnt 1 244 227.34 hectares of land.
Speaking to the media during a post-cabinet briefing Tuesday, information minister Monica Mutsvangwa, said the majority of the fires were recorded in A1 and A2 Resettlement Areas, protected areas such as Safari Areas, national parks and gazetted forests.
According to Mutsvangwa, mitigation measures were being rolled out to curb the menacing fires.
“Cabinet has resolved to constitute Fire Coordination Teams at district, provincial and national level,” Mutsvangwa said.
“The Fire Coordinating Teams will work with AGRITEX to facilitate localised training, education and awareness of fire management,” she added.
As part of a raft of measures, the Environmental Forestry Commission will conduct fire fighting refresher courses in Rural District Councils.
According to the minister, rapid response teams equipped with modern fire-fighting equipment will also be established in all villages and wards across the country.
The measures will also see a team for fire audits and persecution being set up to monitor environmental statuses.
Government will also introduce stiffer penalties for offenders and the traditional leaders will be mandated to play a prominent role.
Temporary deposit accounts in the districts and provinces will also be replenished with petty cash for prompt response to disasters using the country’s decentralised Civil Protection structures.