No to Bushfires: Understanding the causes and consequences

By Bakah Derick

It is that time of the year when we have bushfires in the North West Region. These bushfires have remained a serious threat to livelihoods and the environment. These bushfires have been been largely responsible for the destruction of biodiversity, water catchments, bee hives, farms, research sources and sometimes human life. Fighting bushfires is key and to get this work community solidarity is important. 
Our consultant on environmental protection is Wirsiy Emmanuel Binyuy. He is the Director of Cameroon Gender and Environment Watch (CAMGEW) working in the Kilum-Ijim forest area located in parts of Bui and Boyo Divisions. He shared the following with Hilltopvoices as the potential causes of bushfires at this time. 

The activities of hunters in and around the forest area. Some of them deliberately introduce flames with the intention to scare animals from their hideouts. This eventual turn to uncontrollable wide fires. 

Slash-and-burn or Ankara is a common farming method used by farmers to gain more soil fertility or as a method of preparing the farm for planting. This is done by partially covering dry vegetation with soil and introducing fire. Either by wind or carelessness the fire moves to nearby dry vegetation and turns to huge bushfires. 

Grazers who lack skills in improved pasture cultivation. They turn to burn vegetation yearly to get new ones for their animals, 

Honey harvesting: bee farmers without training in modern bee keeping and who lack harvesting materials/equipment turn to used fire for honey harvesting around the forest. 

Cigarette smoking: Smokers in and around the forest area turn to throw cigarette storms with fire. 
Person with poor mental health who live around the forest some times make small fires to prepare food or for heating themselves. Most often the fire goes wild leading to Bushfires. 

Score settling by community members to inflict pain. 

It is hoped that various community actors can work in solidarity to find basic solutions to these causes. If this is done we will be saying NO to Bushfires this year 

This project is supported by GEF Small Grant Program under the project titled “Eco-friendly Bushfire Prevention and Management in Kilum-Ijim forest”

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