Bush fires!

ImageBush fires have caused concern in many parts of the world in recent times and it has become imperative that disaster organizations make it a priority to prepare communities for these occurrences.  Global warming is increasing the frequency and severity of bush fires which leads to increased days of extreme danger within the areas the bush fires occur.

Mention can be made of the bush fires in Australia especially at this time of the year when the heat wave is intolerable and also the fires raging in Greece where fire fighters from about 8 different countries had to come together to deal with raging flames.

In Ghana bush fires have been considered a grave social setback such that legislation has been passed to curb accidental and intentional causes of bush fires. For example the Asante Akim district under section 79 of the Local Govt Act (Act 462) set up a couple of bye laws to prevent bush fires in 2003. (www. Ghanadistricts.com/asante-akim-south)

Bush fires impact extensive areas. On the one hand the cause property damage and loss of human life and displacement.

Bush fires usually occur in a diverse region and in places usually densely forested. The land is usually less accessible and not conducive to agriculture. The steep terrain usually increases the speed and intensity of a firestorm when it occurs. Where settlements are located in hilly or mountainous areas, bush fires can cause threats to life and property.

Flat or grass land bush fires burn along flat plains and burn more quickly fanned by high winds and they quickly consume the vegetation available. These fires pose threats to settlements and they are easy to predict and map if the terrain is more accessible.

In our parts of the world, bush fires are caused by a variety of factors. Common causes of bush fires include lightning hitting dry woods and trees, and combustible materials in the bush, arson (naked fires, embers and flames from the torches of palm wine tappers, game hunters, honey miners, campers, travelers, and farmers’ cooking fires), accidental ignition from agricultural clearing (fires used by farmers to clear and or burn bush for farming purposes), cigarette butts and controlled burn escapes.

In some instances there deliberate motives for bush fires such as when used intentionally as a war strategy or criminal sabotage or as an economic tool for hunting.

 Bush fires have several effects not only confined to the places where they occur alone but cause destruction to villages and communities – loss of human lives, destruction of settlements, food stores, farms and crops and timber species, death and injury to livestock, poultry, game, wildlife, fauna and flora, etc.

Furthermore, bush fires cause soil erosion, deforestation and desertification when they are persistent. Economic and social facilities are destroyed such as electric and telephone pylons, cables and poles.

 Bush fires affect the standard of living of the people because leads to low productivity, hunger, famine, malnutrition and disease.

Bushfires lead to a general environmental degradation.

It is important therefore that bush fire training drives especially in communities be undertaken to prepare people for bushfires. Disaster volunteer groups have to be formed in bushfire advocacy.

People also have to be individually equipped to handle bush fires as they occur. The main focus however is in the prevention but as mentioned earlier some of the causes are natural inevitable causes.

Bush fires destroy lives and property and so it is important that you research and read about it. If you can read this then it means you have the ability to research on it and teach somebody else.

Like I always say, it begins with YOU!!!



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