A total of 672 bushfires were recorded in the first quarter of 2019 as compared to 579 cases recorded in the first quarter of 2018, representing an increase of 16.06 per cent.
Deputy Chief Fire Officer (DCFO) of the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS), Julius Kuunnor, announced this at a stakeholders forum held in Accra yesterday.
The day’s forum organised by the GNFS, sought to gather information from stakeholders and find solutions to end the rampant and devastating fires that have occurred in the country in recent times.
Some participants at the forum included personnel from the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), Ministries of Education, Information, Food and Agriculture, some personnel of the Information Services Department (ISD) and the Forestry Commission.
To address this, he said there was the need to train about 20,000 fire volunteers nationwide to augment the current number.
DCFO Kuunnor indicated that bushfires had over the years affected the country’s agriculture economy.
“The government flagship programme like the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) and the Youth in Afforestation can be achieved when the bushfire menace is addressed,” he stressed.
He said the destruction of the country’s forest cover as well as economic trees like cocoa, oil palm and medicinal plants, which are a major economic livelihood mostly for the people in the rural areas was a worrying situation.
The DCFO said sustaining the environment would improve the socio-economic status of citizens, especially those in rural areas who were mostly affected.
Mr Kuunnor further called on all stakeholders to provide financial support in order to motivate personnel on the field.
DCFO Robert S. Fiadzo, Director of Rural Fire at the GNFS, said the menace if not addressed now could cause famine in the country.
BY ALLIA NOSHIE AND CEPHAS ADJEI KLU