From Samuel Duodu, Sunyani.
BUSHFIRE destroyed 224 farmlands cultivated with food and cash crops as well as livestock estimated at the cost of GH¢390,491.00 (¢3.9billion) with one death and four injuries in the Brong Ahafo Region in the year 2009 and 2010.
Out of the 224 bushfire cases recorded for the period between 2009 and 2010, 59 were reported while 165 were not reported with Techiman and Wenchi municipalities recording the highest cases of 105 and 60 cases respectively.
The region also recorded a total of 258 fires from January to December, 2010, as compared to 249 cases recorded for the same period in 2009.
The breakdown is 115 domestic fires for the same period in 2010 as against 105 in 2009, electrical fire 20 for 2010, 25 for 2009, vehicular fires 40 for 2010, 33 for 2009, commercial fires one for 2010, five for 2009, institution fires one for 2010, none for 2009 while others are 19 for 2010 and 24 for 2009.
The Regional Fire Command also attended to 40 road accidents from January to November 2010 and 44 for the same period for 2009 which resulted in the death of 21 people in 2010 as compared to 24 deaths recorded for the same period for 2009 as well as 86 and 60 injuries for the period respectively.
The Brong Ahafo Regional Fire Officer, Mr Paul Opoku, who gave the statistics on the fire situation, said the command has banned group hunting in the region which begun from November, 2010 and ends in March, 2011 since it has been identified as the major cause of bushfires during the dry season in the region.
On road accidents, Mr Opoku, who is also a Divisional Officer Grade 1 of the GNFS, said the command has intensified its education campaign to help minimise fire outbreak in the region, especially domestic and bushfires which increase during the dry season (harmattan).
The Regional Fire Officer said the command in collaboration with the Regional Co-ordinating Council (RCC) and the Regional Secretariat of the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) had set up anti-bush fire task forces which include the military, police, GNFS and NADMO to prevent and check those who would set fire during the dry season.
Mr Opoku said the command had trained 7,000 fire volunteers in the region while plans were underway to recruit more volunteers across the region to help combat the bushfire menace in the region.