Chikangawa forest up in smoke

 

Summer fires have destroyed Viphya Plantation on the border between Mzimba and Nkhata Bay districts.

The fires started on Monday and have exposed fire-fighters’ inability to contain the perennial tragedy slowing down efforts to restore the hugely deforested manmade forest.

Phiri: A team is already on the ground

Last year, bushfires destroyed hundreds of hectares, mostly those with young trees.

In an interview yesterday, Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining spokesperson Sangwani Phiri said the fire may have been started by poachers in the forest.

He urged surrounding communities to take the lead in safeguarding the forest as they benefit from its endowments.

According to Phiri, illegal timber makers could also be behind the destruction as they use fires to illumine their pathways into the forest at night.

“We are doing something about it, but the fire is still causing damage. Our officers are on the ground to put out the fire, but their efforts are being affected by heavy winds,” said Phiri.

Raiply Malawi chief executive officer Krishnadas said the raging fire has heavily destroyed the company’s concession area. He said his officials were in the forest to fight the fire and assess the damage. n

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