Raging veld fires soar on, as Tsumeb reports another

Eba Kandovazu

FIRE Brigade officials have been dispatched to contain a veld fire reported between Tsumeb and Tsintsabis this afternoon.

A grass fire was also reported this afternoon at the Ozombada Lodge turn off, about 80km before Karibib from Okahandja. The veld fire is reported barely a month after the Dordabis veld fire, which destroyed 30 farms in the area and caused the loss of life of a pensioner, who got trapped in the flames. The 63-year-old man’s remains where only discovered the following morning by a passer-by, the police reported at the time. Still, in August, a fire was reported in the Etosha National Park. No animals were injured.

On Wednesday, Environment, Tourism and Forestry Minister, Pohamba Shifeta, said in Parliament that the frequency and extent of veld fires has become prevalent across the country this year. This is due to the good rainfall received earlier in the year, which resulted in the accumulation of a high fuel load in many parts of the country.

“The latest data provided today estimate that approximately 2.5 million hectares of grazing land, including land on 604 farms and in

Many protected areas, have been affected by forest and veld fires. This has resulted in the destruction of infrastructure and properties, vast grazing areas and in the loss of both human and animal.”

The Minister says in 2009, a number of wildlife was lost as a result of uncontrolled veld fires in the Etosha National Park. These were 100 springboks, 50 giraffes, 35 rhinos and 25 elephants.

“However, since the introduction of forest and veld fire management, we have not had any wildlife mortalities in the Etosha National Park. The Ministry continues to monitor the outbreaks of forest and veld fires nationwide, based on remote sensing and aerial surveillance
techniques. Daily updates are available on forest and veld fire outbreaks,” Shifeta says.

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