New information communication technologies (ICTs) adopted to facilitate the instantaneous detection of veld fires have drastically reduced fire-related damages to the environment and property in Zimbabwe, especially during the dry season.
The country’s Environment Management Agency (EMA) told The Chronicle that it had successfully adopted Advanced Fire Information System (AFIS), a satellite-based fire information tool that provides near real-time fire information to users.
“Through the use of AFIS, we are happy to say that while the incidents are high, the hectarage that has been burnt to date is on the low side. Since the start of the fire season (30 July-31 October), there has been a total of 2 459 fire incidents, burning 538 656 hectares of land. The cumulative burnt area translates to a 79 percent increase compared to the same period last year whereby 326 206 hectares were burnt from the recorded 605 veld fire incidents,” EMA Principal Research Officer, Ntandokamlimu Dondo told The Chronicle.
Zimbabwe’s Environment, Climate, Tourism, and Hospitality Industry Minister, Nqobizitha Mangaliso Ndlovu also told the newspaper that the ministry was collaborating with other government departments in the fight against veld fires.
“We have to invest in technology mainly for purposes of identifying runaway veld fires. We have integrated systems and EMA has got a robust information system that locates the veld fires. Once we locate where they are in each ward, the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement has got three extension workers who also have tablets that provide information. We need to respond quickly to reports of veld fires,” he told The Chronicle.
When there is a veld fire, information is circulated nationally, provincially, and at the ward level so that the nearest people are able to mobilize and douse it.
If not properly managed veld fires has the potential to destroy human life, crops, livestock, pastures, buildings, as well as the ecosystem in general. Therefore, the use of new technology like this means good news for the whole of society.
🗳 Since democracy is crucial in a fact-based optimistic world... we remind our readers of the democratic status of the countries we write about:
Zimbabwe has a Global Freedom Score of 28 and has the status Not Free.