Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) has engaged rural communities to combat forest fires within Serenje and Chitambo districts of Central Province.

ZEMA Public Relations Manager, Irene Chipili noted that the impact of bush fires to areas such as forests, National Parks and Game Management Areas (GMA) was alarming and calls for action.

She said that the agency was currently working with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to solve the problem of forest fire.

“We are working with the UNDP, forest officers, traditional leaders, community representatives and civil societies in fire management and engaging communities on how to effectively deal with forest fires,” Mrs. Chipili said.

She further added that the fire caused great concern and this was as a result of the unsustainable land management and exploitation of natural resources.

“People use fire for different reasons, for instance, traditionally, fire is used as a form of bush clearing. However these fires are done during the hot season which causes the fires spread over a longer period and longer distance,” she said.

Mrs. Chipili also said the promoting of the Climate-Resilient Community Based Regeneration of indigenous forests in Zambia’s forests are an effort by ZEMA to protect the environment with the help of communities.

She stated that the bush fires are more common in rural areas as well as protected areas such as National Parks and this project will help combat this problem.

The ZEMA Public Relations Manager said the community will fully be involved in interventions that will combat forest fires.

This was contained in a statement made available to Lusaka Star on 02 June, 2019.

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