Ministry of Local Government (MLG)
Fire Management
17/10/11
The Causes of Wild land fires

According to the Min­istry of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism (MEWT) a wild land fire which is commonly known as a Veld fire can be described as “an un­planned, unwanted unauthor­ized human caused fire...”

It is from this perspective, that the Batho Pele team endeavored on a news gathering initiative to investigate the root causes of wild land fires. Accord­ing to MEWT the vast majority of wild land fires are the result of human activity.

Thus, having been briefed about the main cause of wild­fires the Batho Pele Television and e-Bulletin team interviewed thatch pickers located in the Nata locality to get their opin­ions on this matter.

When quizzed about their role in wildfires, Ms. Gaboikangwe Mosweu, a representative of the thatch pickers and an entrepre­neur who sells thatch grass for a living had this to say:

“There is a false misconception that thatch grass pickers cause wild land fires. Furthermore she availed that, though they do start fires, they are only for cook­ing and as such they take extra care to ensure that they are ex­tinguished in a safe manner.”

Another representative of the thatch grass pickers Ms. Bakhwi Knight of Changate mentioned that “the only time they start fires are is when they cook and as such the embers of the fire are disposed by burying them.”

She went onto note that she does not understand why they are being blamed for the outbreak of wildfires, because thatch grass is there main source of income, so it would not make sense to burn down their only source of income.

In an effort to get a holistic understanding of these phenom­ena known as wildfires, the Batho Pele team interviewed Mr. Thomas Sereto- Head of Fire station Francistown, and his views regarding this matter are as follows:

“There have been instances where grass pickers have been responsible for wild land fires. As such we as fire fighters warn those who make a living out of grass picking to be cautious when starting fires for cooking, and warmth, furthermore they should dispose of embers ap­propriately”.

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