Unfortunately, bush fires are not a rare phenomenon in Ghana. They are often caused due to the long dry periods and to hunting activities where fire is used. On May 3rd, around 1pm, the team of Plant-for-Ghana, a hybrid restoration agroforestry project of Plant-for-the-Planet Ghana, discovered a wildfire on their planting area in the Northern Savannah Ecological Zone of Ghana. The good news: The team members were very well trained in terms of wildfire prevention and extinguishing, so the fire was quickly controlled and extinguished completely within 24 hours.
In total, 10.2 hectares (about the size of 14 soccer fields) of the area were affected by the fire. The next few weeks will show which of the trees survived the fire. Still, there is the possibility of some of the burnt young trees to grow again because the stem is still fresh, which means they can still grow. The second assessment of the destroyed area showed a total of about over 2,000 trees burnt completely and about 700 still having fresh stem and could grow after the rains set in. Nevertheless, Plant-for-Ghana has already initiated the raising and replanting of 2,500 new tree seedlings in this year’s planting season and to replant them at the destroyed areas.
About the cause of the fire and further measures
Investigations by the Forestry Commission and the responsible Council of Chiefs have revealed that the fire was caused by hunting activities of two men, and the suspects will face disciplinary measures (see report of the Forestry Commission here). Besides the firefighting training for the employees, Plant-for-Ghana taken the following measures to protect the project area from wildfires since the very beginning:
• Construction and maintaining of fire belts around planted areas
• Ring weeding around young trees
• Control burning within non planted areas
• Sensitization campaigns about indiscriminate bush burning within the communities
• Forming of a voluntary firefighters group from the community
Although incidents like these show us how vulnerable the world’s ecosystems are, let’s not lose hope! Planting trees is a crucial step to restore these unique ecosystems and buy us humans time to stop using fossil fuels and drive the transformation towards a clean economy.
Thank you for your continued support and for joining Plant-for-Ghana in achieving their great goal of planting 10 million trees in Ghana.
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