National Forestry Authority-NFA says it has lost 340 hectares of central forest reserves in Bunyoro due to bush fires.
National Forestry Authority-NFA says it has lost 340 hectares of central forest reserves in Bunyoro due to bushfires.
Stewart Maniraguha, the NFA Manager Kisindi sector which oversees Bunyoro area, says the affected central forest reserves are Bujawe in Hoima and Kasongoire, which is shared between Masindi and Hoima districts.
Over 240 hectares of pine and eucalyptus trees were lost in Bujawe, while another 100 hectares were burnt in Kasoingoire, early this month. Maniraguga attributes the fire incidents to the current dry season coupled with reckless burning by hunters, herdsmen, farmers and honey hunters. In Bujawe, eight honey hunters were arrested in connection with the forest burning .They were charged with burning a gazetted forest against the guidelines of the National Forest and Tree Planting Act 2003. In Kasongoire, police are still hunting for the culprits.
Forest fires are a common problem during dry the season and Bujawe forest has been affected almost every dry season. Last year 100 hectares of the central Forestry reserve were lost due to fire.
Maniraguha says community ignorance on the importance of forests and lack of clear fire lines in some forest reserves are partly to blame for the problem. He reveals however, that routine patrols are being carried out, as part of NFA’s fire management campaign. He says fire lines will also be re-opened in some of the reserves to prevent easy fire spread.
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Environmental police says fires have not only affected forests, but also crop gardens and other plantations in the region. Erastus Byekwaso, the Albert region environmental police officer, says the recent plantation fires in Kinyara, are among the destructive fire incidents registered in the region. More than 600hectares of Kinyara sugar plantations in Masindi were burnt early this month. Byekwaso reveals that his office has stepped up a community sensitization campaign against reckless fire burning especially during such dry seasons.
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