Over 300hectares of Ruvubu Nature Reserve burned onset of dry season

The bush fires have erupted with great density since the beginning of the current dry season compared with the last years, says Epimery Nibizi, the director of forests. He says more than 20 hectares of the Rusizi Nature Reserve have been set ablaze, while more than 250 hectares of the Ruvubu Nature Reserve have been destroyed from the beginning of the dry season until July 20.

Bush fires destroying a forest in Gisuru Commune, Ruyigi province

Bush fires destroying a forest in Gisuru Commune, Ruyigi province

“According to a forest manager in Cankuzo province, since July 20, more than 100 other hectares of Ruvubu Nature Reserve have been burned,” says Nibizi adding that besides nature reserves threatened by bush fires, forests in Bururi, Ngozi, Bubanza, Cibitoke, Muyinga, Kirundo, Ruyigi and Cankuzo provinces are also being destroyed by bushfires.

The director of forests says local authorities alongside the population used to fight bush fires together and had managed to reduce them enough in the recent years. “They would have been discouraged this year,” he wonders.

He says local authorities and officials from the Ministry of the Environment have started sensitization sessions to the dangers threatening the environment caused by bush fires. Nibizi calls on the population to get more involved in the fight against bush fires.

The environmentalist and chairman of the association fighting for environment protection, ‘Les Amis de la Nature’ regrets the fact that it has been a decade since natural forests have been destroyed by bush fires in Burundi, but the government fails to implement effective measures aimed to fight them as do other countries in the sub region.

For Sabushimike, the government should adopt measures that do not require a lot of resources but which can provide a lasting solution to the bush fires. He proposes work in synergy between the population, local authorities and the security forces in the protection of the environment.