Police have asked the public to take precautions to prevent wildfires, especially during the dry season.
The warning follows this week’s incident when in Munyaga Sector, Rwamagana District, a ten year-old boy allegedly, casually started a fire that spread and destroyed part of a forest.
Police was quick to respond with the support of local residents, and managed to contain the fire.
A similar case happened in Mahama Sector, Kirehe District, where a fire destroyed at least ten hectares of a forest this week.
Police statistics indicate that 49 fires were recorded between January and June this year.
Bush fires tend to go up in the months of July and August, caused by poorly discarded cigarettes, honey harvesting and burning waste, according to Police.
The Police Spokesperson for Eastern Province, Inspector of Police (IP) Emmanuel Kayigi, called for partnership between residents and security agencies to check such wildfires through timely sharing of information, which enables the deployment of skilled police firefighters.
“The Fire and Rescue Brigade at RNP has skilled personnel and modern equipment to overcome fire outbreaks wherever they occur and keep their damage as minimum as possible,” IP Kayigi said.
“Some cattle keepers in the districts of Nyagatare and Gatsibo still have negative mentality that they have to set their farms ablaze towards the end of the dry season so that when it rains, fresh grass will grow for livestock to feed on. In most cases, these fires spread to nearby farms and forests. This mentality must, therefore, stop because it’s illegal and poses danger to the environment,” he said.
“Fires can result in serious repurcussions, including loss of lives and property, yet it is preventable if information is shared early enough, people take precautions by respecting the law on environment.”
IP Kayigi appealed to the public to always be quick to inform Police by calling toll free lines 111 and 112 or 0788311120, in case of a fire outbreak for quick response.