THERE is a popular Dagomba proverb which says, “As far as the bushfires continue, the grasshoppers cannot congratulate each other”.
The issue of bushfires is not only a concern to grasshoppers, but every living being because of its impact on the environment.
Many communities across the country around this time, become vulnerable to bushfires due largely to the harmattan and its accompanying dry winds.
The onset of the harmattan in the country is, therefore, a source of worry for the communities with vast dry grassland and forest areas.
Although every year, during the harmattan season, bushfires become topical, everyone goes to sleep as soon as the season is over.
This is in spite of its degradation effect on the forest, arable agriculture and wildlife.
Bushfire stories often receive major headline treatments in the media, and government officials and institutions show a lot of concern, but as soon as the risks disappear on the onset of rains, all seemed to be forgotten.
Often, bushfires wrecked havoc and exacted a heavy death toll and unquantifiable suffering on people, animals and the environment.
What is of concern to the Times, however, is that some of the bushfires are set either deliberately or by mistake by hunters, herdsmen farmers and cigarette smokers.
Wheather set deliberately or by mistake, bushfires in extreme weather conditions have devastating effects on entire communities, and that is why we are elated that the Ghana National Fire Service has began public education on the dangers of bushfires during the harmattan season.
As published on the back page the Wa Municipal Fire Station is embarking on a week-long sensitization programme to educate members of selected communities on the dangers of bushfires.
According to the report, the exercise is meant to create public awareness on the harmattan in relation to fire outbreaks so as to reduce the incidence of uncontrolled bushfires in the municipality.
The District Fire Officer, Assistant Divisional Officer (ADO) II Issahaku Adams, explained that the exercise formed part of efforts to ensure that bushfires were reduced to the barest minimum, so as prevent the suffering of people whose property are destroyed.
While commending the Wa Municipal Fire Service, we wish to encourage all the districts to reactivate their bye-laws on bushfires and bush burning, and to embark on community education, as well as environmental awareness programmes.
We all owe it as a duty during the severe harmattan weather, to guard against indiscriminate bush fires so as to protect lives and property.