No to Bushfires: Why we must be on the watch now

By Bakah Derick 

This is the time of the calender year when bushfires are common. Vegetation is getting dry and intensive farming will resume soon. It is therefore important to be on the watch now so as to minimise the occurrence of bushfire. 
According to Cameroon Gender and Environment Watch (CAMGEW)  bushfires mostly occur during public holidays when people are resting at home, on weekends when forest people are attending other festive events, on traditional resting days (kontri Sunday) when forest people respect their traditional days by staying home and on Fridays or Sundays when there is religious services. 

"Records of bushfires in Kilum-Ijim forest have proven this. On 11th February 2014 during National Youth Day when everyone was in the celebration ground in Elak – Oku fire emerged from a farm close to the forest at Nchiiy Community Forest and got into the forest. Before community members could leave the ceremonial ground to go home and change their attire and move to the forest, part of the forest was already burnt." Wirsiy Emmanuel Binyuy apiculture and nature conservation campaigner explains. 

As part of the GEF Small Grant Program under the project titled “Eco-friendly Bushfire Prevention and Management in Kilum-Ijim forest” Hilltopvoices consultant on environmental protection Wirsiy Emmanuel Binyuy advises on precautionary measures during this period. 

Carryout sensitization against bushfire

Work to have Green Firebreaks that separate the forest from the farms with evergreen vegetation

Banning of smoking in the forest and farms around the forest 

Community members should do tire tracing and back burning

There is need for forest patrols
After back burning, the fire should be completely put off with water before you leave

Avoid burning on windy days 
Wider traces are required on slopes because there is a high risk of fire crossing

Community members must have skills in First Aid service offer

Community members should not attempt to manage bushfire without firefighting tools
Make sure you obey local laws regarding bushfires

Work like a team while putting off bushfire to be sure of each one position and safety. Solidarity is our insurance and so we are all each other’s keeper." 

It is also advisable that communities with more skills in managing bushfires share with others. This also applies to individuals and institutions with skills and knowledge on bushfire management .
We successfully prevent bushfire this year with solidarity and engagement. This will help protect property, human life and the forest. Let us make sure that bushfire should not add to our misery when we can prevent it. Let love reign especially as we remain each other’s keeper.  These were the concluding words Wirsiy Emmanuel made.

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