Smoke could be seen a few metres from where we stood. Two men holding fire torches led a group of about 15 men and women creating a fireguard on Dimbangombe’s 3,200 hectare learning site located approximately 32 Km south of Victoria Fall, Zimbabwe.
A land cruiser with a big water tank was parked less than five metres from the group. Two men burnt grass, four men followed closely behind with auto-sprayers, one man carried a blower and others carried tree branches to put out the fire that was deliberately lit to create a fireguard.
Fire guards have increasingly proved to be one of the most effective and reliable remedies to contain the scourge of wild fires that have been on the prowl over the past decade.
Last year, part of Dimbangombe Learning Site was gutted by fire leaving soils exposed to erosion. Creation of fireguards is a skill that has to be learnt. On Dimbangombe Learning Site, creation of fireguards began last week of April and this saw the Hwange Communal Lands programme team learning the art of creating fireguards.
The Director for the Dimbangombe learning site, Ms Astrid Huelin said fireguards were being created to control veldt fires. She said in communities fires are generally caused by people burning stover and poaching. Huelin said her team was creating fireguards in the evenings rather than mornings to allow for solid burning. She said it would take approximately two months to create fireguards on Dimbangombe Learning Sites.
Creation of fireguards has to complete by 30 June in accordance to the country’s regulations where all fireguards have to be completed by this date.