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Cote d’Ivoire steps up fight against bushfires to save forests

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fire fighters

The government of Cote d’Ivoire has intensified its efforts to combat bushfires, aiming to safeguard the forest cover of the West African country, a local official said on Tuesday.

Addressing a local gathering in Zagoue town, Evariste Djan Yapo, director of water and forests for the country’s western region of Tonkpi, said bushfires are the third leading cause of deforestation and forest cover degradation in Cote d’Ivoire.

“Every year during the prolonged dry season in the country, they cause significant damage, including the destruction of flora and fauna, burning of plantations and villages, loss of human lives, degradation of land, and environmental harm,” he said.

From 2019 to the present, bushfires have resulted in 16 deaths, the devastation of 5,000 hectares of perennial and food crops, and the burning of 94 houses, he added.

“It is crucial for us to educate our communities, making them aware of the impact of fighting against bushfires and mitigating their harmful effects,” he emphasized.

The forest cover of Cote d’Ivoire, which was estimated at over 16 million hectares in 1960, has significantly diminished, with only 2.97 million hectares of forests remaining today. In response to this, authorities have repeatedly called for collaborative efforts to restore the deteriorating forest cover.

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