Keeping fire at bay

Conservancies hard at work to save livelihoods

25 August 2020 | Environment

It has been a devastating year for conservancies that are largely dependent on tourism and trophy hunting for an income. Global travel bans and quarantine has meant that conservancies are struggling to cover their costs and maintain their activities. Add the threat of wild and veld fires to the mix, and 2020 could turn into a dramatic year for the conservancies.
However, careful fire management activities in the conservancies have meant that the impact and damage caused by the all-consuming fires isn’t as great as it used to be.
The Nyae Nyae Conservancy and its people especially are highly commended for their pro-active activities in battling fires and protecting the land before the fires have a chance to burn.
Still, some activities are too important to stop and with the support of EIF, the Nyae Nyae Conservancy has continued to manage the fuel build up in the area during 2020, and reduce the chance of late hot fires that have in the past destroyed villages, grazing and other precious natural resources.
It is essential that the fire-management programme is carried out. This year, when the community is even more dependent on their local resources such as Devils Claw harvesting and other veld foods, local gardens and livestock, keeping devastating fires at bay is even more critical.
The conservancy have been managing the fuel build up and fires for over six years. At present, each year approximately 10-20% of the conservancy area burns each year. This is still a sizeable amount, however nothing compared to the highs of 40-50% that it saw in 2010-2012 before the initiative started.
The fire management programme is geared to protecting lives, resources and equipping locals to fight fires. It is a great success and has a major impact on the lives of those in the conservancies. It is a credit to the conservancy that it focuses on these issues when there are so many new challenges facing them this year.

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