Wildfires destroy more than 50,000 hectares of land in central Namibia


Wildfires are devouring vegetation and communities in central Namibia amid strong winds and high temperatures, a government official said Tuesday.

The fires, which broke out early this month in Dordabis, 80 km to the southeast of the capital Windhoek, destroyed more than 50,000 hectares of land, harming the environment and livelihoods, said Michael Otsub, acting director of forest management in the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism.

Although the wildfires have been suppressed to a manageable level, they have left a trail of destruction, damaging about 15 farms, resettlements and communal areas.

According to Otsub, the frequent occurrences of wildfires are becoming a growing concern across the country. The flames of another wildfire Sunday also destroyed Sikongo Irrigation Project in the Kavango East region, with losses and damages estimated at 600,000 Namibian dollars (about 41,000 U.S. dollars).

“Hot winds and climate change exacerbate wildfires. In addition, there is vegetation and a high volume of biomass in many areas following good rains received in the last rainfall season, which makes many environments prone to wildfires. In the process hurting people, livelihoods, wildlife, livestock and the broader environment,” Otsub said.

Meanwhile, the ministry, in partnership with affected communities, conducted an assessment to determine the extent of damage to infrastructure and wildlife and livestock killed and further implemented public education campaign to prevent wildfires. Enditem

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