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Regional News Wed, 27 Nov 2002

Bushfires rampant in four regions

THE Brong Ahafo and Upper West regions are jointly ranked third after the Northern and Upper East regions for the highest incidence of bushfires in the country, according to a nationwide research conducted by the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO).

NADMO has also identified bushfires as the number one cause of disaster in the Brong Ahafo Region, since they account for 55 per cent of such calamities annually.

Mr Joseph Boakye, the acting Regional Manager of the Forest Services Division of the Forestry Commission, made the revelation when he launched the Community Forest Committees (CFC) in the Sunyani District in Sunyani yesterday.

The functions of the 180-member committee drawn from the 21 forest districts in the region, include the protection of forest reserves, setting up of nurseries for planting and mobilisation of fire volunteers to rehabilitate the degraded forests and the construction of fire belts to prevent bushfires.

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Mr Boakye stated that bushfires post the most serious threat to sustainable forest management in the region, adding that more than 60 per cent of the forest reserves in the region have had their structures and composition adversely affected by fire.

He said bushfires have become an annual phenomenon destroying large tracts of forests and farmlands after the one that devasted the nation in 1982/83 and said the long-term survival of the region?s forests hinges on how effectively bushfires can be controlled.

Mr Boakye attributed the majority of bushfires to the activities of man, which include land clearing and preparation, hunting for game, carelessly throwing away the ends of glowing cigarettes, charcoal production, cooking in dry season and distillation of local gin by palm wine tappers.

He, therefore, called for public education to create awareness of the harmful effects of bushfires, promotion of alternative livelihood activities such as grasscutter rearing, establishment of greenbelts and fire rides around forest reserves, farms and communities close to reserves and the institution of award schemes and incentive packages for communities that help to prevent bushfires or its spread.

Source: gna
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