Editorial

Tackling fire outbreaks in harmattan

The Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) has often appealed to the public to adhere to basic fire safety measures to help reduce the occurrence of fire outbreaks during the harmattan season.

To them, the period and particularly when it becomes severe, makes the weather a fertile ground for fire outbreaks.

Often we do not take the advice offered by the Fire Service serious and it is, therefore, not surprising that often, majority of the fire outbreaks reported annually nationwide occur during the dry season, which starts from late December and continue, sometimes, into early February the following year.

The harmattan season is here again with its attendant bushfires and various climatic hazards associated with it, coupled with the damage done to life and property.

As a matter of fact and without exception, no season of the year comes without affecting people’s lives, but the negative effects of harmattan season seem to outweigh its benefits derived from the other seasons.

Already the arrival of the dry season is gradually creeping and putting people and businesses at the risk of fire disasters across the country.

One such fires has been reported at Sogakofe and Keta where 29 electricity poles belonging to the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG)  and erected along the sea defence stretch have been burnt by bushfires.

Twenty-one of them are high tension poles and the remaining eight are service poles. Some of them have been left hanging at knee level, posing danger to lives.

According to Mr Godwin Gone, Keta District Manager of the ECG, the bushfires started on December 30, 2019, through to January 1, 2020 and took the intervention of fire fighters, to tame it.

 He said he was surprised at the occurrence because “there are no farmlands or thick bushes around Keta-Adzido and Kedzi-Vodza areas for people to burn bushes for hunting”.

The District Manager described the incident as unfortunate and appealed to residents in the Keta Municipality to desist from indiscriminate setting of fire to bushes during dry seasons, so as not to plunge the area into darkness.

 Mr Gone said there must be caution when setting fires during harmattan periods, because they could lead to unforeseen or unintended disasters with far reaching consequences.

 Fire outbreaks caused by the dry and dusty wind are becoming widespread, with the attendant losses. And since human and material toll from fire outbreaks are getting increasingly high, we call on both the government and the public to embrace safety measures that will mitigate these avoidable losses.

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