Vital Information

WHAT ARE VELD FIRES?

These are blazes that get out of control and become wild, and in the process destroy extensive tracts of forests, grasslands, animals, people and their properties.
Fire, as part of natural process has a positive role in the vegetation structure and composition, and helps recycle nutrients contained in old and dead trees. There is, however, concern that the frequency, extent and pattern of burning are increasing due to human activities.

It is a fact that the damage from these fires has grown to outweigh the benefits of fire on the ecosystem.

Frequent burning has implication on carbon stocks and emissions, wildlife habitat, human health and life as well as livelihoods.
Statutory Instrument 7 of 2007 as read with Environmental Management Act (CAP 20:27), no person is allowed to light a fire outside residential and commercial premises during the period July 31 to October 31 of each year.

The causes of Veld Fires

THE CAUSES OF VELD FIRES

There are several factors that cause veld fires but most are human ignitions resulting from:
Reckless disposal of lit cigarette stubs

  •     Smoking out of bees for honey harvesting 
  •     Lighting fires at road servitude while waiting for early morning buses
  •     Land clearing 
  •     Hunting
  •     Deliberate lighting of fires/arson 
  •     Children playing with matches
  •     Improper household ash disposal  

 

 

Effects of Veld Fires

EFFECTS OF VELD FIRES

Veld fires lead to severe environmental degradation. More specifically, veld fires reduce land cover thus exposing the land to agents of accelerated soil erosion, changes in the hydrological cycle, increase in overland flow or surface run off and modifications in various ecological processes.

Soil erosion leads to the siltation of rivers and dams, thus reducing their water carrying capacity. This is likely to induce floods in low lying areas.
Veld fires destroy plantations, crops and pastures. In Zimbabwe, it is now commonly agreed that veld fires are a single significant threat to national economic recovery plans as they are destroying not only pastures necessary for the restocking exercise, but they are also destroying foreign currency generation plantations.
Food security may be compromised as the last few years have seen fires burning wheat farms, maize fields among other valuables.


How do I know that a fire might occur?

It is normally your dry season. You experience very hot conditions. There is a lot of potential fuel (e.g. dry leaves, wood, dead plants and grass). You can clearly see long dry grass and plants. There are moderate to strong winds present.
Veld fire trends

A total of 347 356 hectares has been cumulatively burnt to date, while during the same period in 2011 about 209 000ha was burnt.


Veld fires and stakeholders
Each person or institution has a role to play in the fight against veld fires and the following can be of importance to prevent veld fires, destruction of the environment as well as loss of life and property.

 

School children
In the event that schoolchildren come across fire: Quickly report the incident to any nearby adult person. Do not attempt to cross over fire, crossing over fire may result in fatalities.
Do not try to extinguish a veld fire on your own. Move away from the veld fire and never ever try to climb trees in the direction of a veld fire.


Bus passengers
Travelling can at times be done during odd hours when the weather is very cold especially in the rural areas. These conditions make passengers make a fire at the bus stop for warmth.
Therefore, before leaving make sure you completely extinguish the fire. Make sure all the glowing splints and burning coal are completely extinguished using water.
Put on warm clothes because history has shown that most road fires are left unattended.


Bee smokers
Use other methods of extracting honey, which does not involve use of fire. Seek advice from the Forestry Commission.


Motorists
Put off cigarette stubs and use ashtrays. Assist in fire fighting and always travel with a fire extinguisher. Service car electrical and mechanical systems to avoid sparks, which can cause veld fires.

Traditional leaders

Have firefighting teams to put off uncontrolled veld fires in your areas of jurisdiction.
Carry out fire awareness campaigns throughout the fire season. Use cultural ways of punishing those who cause veld fires.


Rural District Councils
Establish an environmental committee to oversee environmental issues and subcommittees, which are chaired by a councillor in a given ward or wards.
Appoint an environmental monitor in the district in conjunction with Environmental Management Agency (EMA). Ensure that there are firefighting committees in these various wards.
Report all veld fire incidences within seven working days to EMA or Zimbabwe Republic Police.

Did you Know?

DID YOU KNOW???

Rhinos are a critically endangered species. Although poached nearly to extinction, conservation efforts and habitat protection are starting to make a small difference towards the fate of these magnificent animals.

 

 

So help our Anti-Poaching efforts by reporting anyone of threat to the livelihood of this endangered species by contacting us :


Parks & Wildlife Management Authority
Corner Sandringham & Borrowdale Roads
Botanical Gardens
PO Box CY140, Causeway, Harare
Telephone: +263 4 706077/8

 

Do's & Dont's

RULES TO OBSERVE WHEN YOU ENTER THE PARKS (DO’s & DON’Ts)

 

  1. For your safety, stay on the road and in your vehicle all the time, unless at viewing platforms, picnic sites and other designated places
  2. Please don’t feed animals or birds
  3. Camps at designated sites only
  4. Do not use scooter, motorbikes or bicycles in the parks
  5. The carriage of weapons, explosives or poisons is prohibited.
  6. Please don’t disturb animals by making unnecessary noise
  7. The maximum speed limit in the parks is 40km/h
  8. Removal of any plant or animal samples is prohibited
  9. Do not pollute water sources
  10. Bringing pets in the park is prohibited
  11. Please don’t damage or remove parks property
  12. Political and public meetings are prohibited in the parks
  13. Don’t place advertising materials within the parks
  14. Flying aircraft at less than 150m above the ground is not permitted

 


Cnr Sandringham & Borrowdale Rd Botanical Gardens PO BOX CY140, Causeway, Harare Telephone: +263-4-706077/8-9 Gen. Enquiries: +263-4-707624-9 +263-4-792786-9 Email: bookings@zimparks.co.zw Facsimile: +263-4-793867 Bulawayo Booking Office 15 Avenue,Main & Fort Street P.O.Box 2283, Bulawayo Telephone: +263-9-63646 Facsimile: +263-9-65592 Email: ftafeni@zimparks.co.zw Quick Contacts Problem Animal Control Hotline: +263 772 104 390 Hunting Licenses: +263 734 584 384 +263 772 315 151 Public Relations:+263 772 433901 Toll Free Numbers 0800 3222 344 0800 3222 347

 
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