Bush fires

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Link video at Dailymotion, « Les chasseurs de feux »

Every year during the dry season, more than 1500 bush fires are recorded in Senegal. In some years, up to 650,000 hectares of national territory have burnt down, an area equivalent to the region of Thiès.

Human activities: major reasons for bush fires

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Fires not only have serious consequences for the forest cover, but they also kill a lot of animals. (Copyright: Hellio & Van Ingen)

Bush fires are caused by the combustion of grass cover, which can reach up to three meters high in certain regions in the South of the country. These blazes are mostly the consequence of human activities, such as insufficient control over domestic fires, burning trees for the collection of wild honey, or hunting tours, for which forests are burnt in order to make the game come out and please the hunting tourists.

Many tree species, especially taller ones, such as the fromager (bombax), the caïlcédrat (khayasenegalensis), the vène (pterocarpus erinaceus), or the Kayor pear (or «dimb» in Wolof, used to produce the djembés) are therefore seriously under threat of extinction, because the fires burn the young sprouts of these trees.

Operation fire hunters

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Villagers together with one of our teams extinguish a bush fire. (Copyright: Hellio & van Ingen)

In response to this ecological disaster, Oceanium launched an operation called "fire hunters". During the dry season, our teams roam the pathways of Senegal to extinguish the bush fires with the villagers. Armed with sticks, rakes and a lot of courage, our "fire fighters of nature" take risks to put out fires, even though some of these blazes stretch over dozens of kilometres.

In the future, Oceanium wants to further develop this operation by creating awareness among the authorities and villages, by procuring more fire-fighting equipment and by setting up a network of bush fire sentinels throughout the country.

Picasa gallery « Operation bush fire »

Opération feux de brousse

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