The City of Windhoek embarked on an initiative to chop down and cut down old dead trees and dry grass to prevent bushfires from ever happening or escalating.
The Disaster Risk Management Division proactively took measures to prevent and prepare for field fires in Windhoek, following a record number of field fires experienced in the capital.
These efforts involve strategically placed firebreaks resembling gravel roads to serve as robust barriers, impeding the spread of fires and acting as protective firewalls. Alongside considering wind direction and vegetation, the firebreaks effectively impede the rapid spread of fires and ensure convenient accessibility for firefighting teams.
These precautions are said to hold significant importance during the annual winter fire season when the heightened dryness of grass makes it more susceptible to ignition.
In collaboration with the fire brigade, the division has identified fire-prone areas and works together to complete firebreaks.
Disaster Risk Management Officer Pascal Munikonzo explained that this comprehensive approach safeguards human lives and property and contributes to the conservation of diverse wildlife populations, including kudus and leopards.
The fire-breaks cover a distance of 40 kilometres and are located in the areas of Ludwigsdorf and Eros.
Meanwhile, the City of Windhoek Spokesperson Lydia Amutenya said the firebreaks effectively impede the rapid spread of fires and ensure convenient accessibility for firefighting teams.
“These precautions hold significant importance during the annual winter fire season when the heightened dryness of grass makes it more susceptible to ignition. The areas where firebreaks were made were identified through the assessment that our disaster risk management team did after the rainy season”, Amutenya said.
She stated that the assessment guide on the most critical and risky areas should the veld fire break out and each year they identify and attend to the most critical areas by creating firebreaks.
This year’s vegetation growth is said to present a lot of dry biomass (grass) that can burn and quickly turn into a big, uncontrollable veld fire. Unlike many other hazards, most veld fires are caused by human activity and can be avoided. Hence, residents in fire-prone areas should plan and avoid destruction to the environment and damage to properties as a result of veld fires in and around the city of Windhoek.
The condition of the thatching, If the roof is eroded, residents are advised to replace the eroded grass since it is highly combustible and catches fire easily.
For fire suppression, residents are further advised to keep a garden hose connected to a tap that can reach the boundaries of their premises and Clear vegetation at least three to six meters from their house boundaries adjacent to open spaces covered with grass and bushes.