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Regional News Sat, 31 Jan 2009

Eastern Regional Fire Officer expresses concern

Koforidua, Jan. 31, GNA - Mr Ekow Blankson, Eastern Regional Fire Officer, on Friday expressed concern about the increase in bush and wildfires in the Region over the years. He therefore called for concerted efforts from stakeholders to intensify the campaign against bush and wildfires to save the environment for future generations. Mr Blankson expressed the concern when launching this year's Eastern Regional Bush and Wildfire Campaign at Suhyen, a suburb of Koforidua.

He said although available statistics indicated that there was 13 per cent reduction in outbreak of bush and wild fires from 77 in 2007 to 67 in 2008, there was the need to reduce its outbreak. Mr Blankson regretted that most of the people were reluctant to join fire volunteer squads in the communities and noted that about 15,000 volunteers were required to help fight fire outbreaks but now had only 5,175 volunteers operating.

He appealed to fire volunteers not to consider the financial benefits before joining anti-bushfire squads, but protecting the environment should be their major concern. Mr Blankson said lack of logistics were some of the constraints affecting efforts of the service to fight fire outbreaks and appealed to Government for assistance.

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Mr Bernard Tabil, Eastern Regional Manager of Forestry Commission (FC), said bushfires created hardships to the environment because of the destruction of birds and animals resulting in their complete extinction. He called for collective responsibility to curb or prevent the incidence of bush fires, particularly during the Harmattan when the country was experiencing dry weather conditions.

Mr Tabil said the Forestry Commission with funding from Royal Netherlands Government was currently undertaking a project, the Wildfire Management Project at Somanya, Donkorkrom, Mpraeso, and Begoro to sensitise and train people on how to deal with bush fires. 31 Jan. 09

Source: GNA
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