Dozens of Electricity poles in the Eastern Region have been burnt as bushfires ravage parts of the region.
The increasing bushfires is threatening uninterrupted power supply and causing damages as many electricity poles have been affected.
Over 140 bushfires have been recorded so far in the region this year. The bushfires are reportedly being caused by hunters, farmers , cigarette and wee smokers.
On Tuesday February 1,2022 for instance ,blazing bushfire outbreak occured along the Koforidua to Akyem Kukurantumi road .It took the intervention of Fire Service and Community volunteers to fight the fire for hours .
The intervention of the Ghana National Fire Service helped protect about 15 electricity poles from being burnt down completely.
A poultry farm worker told Starr News, the fire started from a nearby forest “I was in here when we saw fire outbreak from the forest which spread quickly to other parts of the road . so we the help of my friend we started creating fire belt around my poultry farm. some other opinion leaders from and resident from Kukurantumi also came around and helped us control the fire by pouring water to it . We poorest water around the electricity poles but still some were bunt because of the nature of the fire ”
A food vendor Darkoa Joyce said “all that we saw was fire from the forest , the fire actually started three days ago but was controlled but what happened yesterday was serious it took the intervention of fire service personnel to protect ECG poles and douse me the fire”
The Eastern Regional Public Relations Officer of the Electricity Company of Ghana , Emmanuel Halm told Starr News ,apart from the interruption of power supply and damages being caused to electricity poles by bushfires ,the company is spending huge sums of monies to get the affected poles replaced .
“For some times now the electricity company of Ghana in the Eastern region has observed a very worrying trend which is in respect to the bush burning that are taking place and it effects on our network. We have had this challenge over the years and every year we appeal to the general public to support us in this direction.
“What we have observed is from December people have started burning bushes around our poles and this has really had a turning effects on our operations as a region.So far , we have recorded some bush fires in the Afram plains ,Mpraeso,Suhum, Nkawkaw area, Koforidua the main capital , Begoro and some in Asesewa ,other places.”
He continued “These bush fires actually have very serious effects. We have had instances where cables have been suspended because of these fires, some poles are now tilted and we have to take emergency measures to go and repair these faults.What we saying is, the bushfires are having serious effects on our operations in terms of finances.
“We have to repair those faults due to these human made disasters we have to spend a lot of money to repair such damages caused to our networks.Recently, it took the intervention of the fire service to just quench a fire along the Suhum- Koforidua road and then we also had another one from Suhum- Adoagyiri road”
Emmanuel Halm however stated that, ECG will continue to deploy technology to protect its poles in bushfire prone areas identified . However , appealed to the Public to desist from acts that causes bushfires .
The Eastern Regional Fire Commander Assistant Chief Fire Officer (1), Mrs. Jennifer Naa Yarley Quaye expressed worry that, 144 bushfires have so far been recorded this year in the region .
“With the bushfires, now we are in the harmattan season and it is January, 2022, when we compare the statistics from 2020 ,In 2020 around January by now we recorded 59 fires, last year January 2021 we recorded 6 fires but this year 2022, our figures had gone up because we are now in January and we have so far recorded 144 bush fires in the Eastern region.
“So I am pleading with the general public to be cautious of how they go about burning their bushes and the weeds in our environment. Those who smoke especially should make sure they put off the pieces left after smoking before dropping it on the ground.”
She urged the public to take advantage of “operation clean your frontage” to clear weeds surroundings their them to prevent bushfires.
The Control and Prevention of bushfire Act 1990 PNDC L.229 enjoins all District Assemblies to form Bush Fire Control sub committees to prevent bushfires but these have not been done by most of the assemblies in Eastern region.
The Act also directs that, an organization responsible for the clearing and weeding of a roadside shall ensure that the roadside is kept free of all bushfire hazards.
The Act further directs the Ghana National Fire Service is responsible for the training of town, area and unit fire volunteer squads to prevent bushfires.
According the Control and Prevention of bushfire Act 1990 PNDC L.229, a person who causes bushfire commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine of not less than two hundred and fifty penalty units and not more than one thousand penalty units or to a term of imprisonment or community labour not exceeding twelve months or to both the fine and the imprisonment or community labour and for a subsequent offence to a term of imprisonment or community labour not exceeding two years.
The Act also states that the Court may in addition to the penalty , impose, order the offender to make good the value of the property including the crops or trees damaged or destroyed by the fire caused by that person.
A person who fails to report bushfire is also liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding twenty-five penalty units or to a term of imprisonment or community labour for a term not exceeding one month or to both the fine and the imprisonment.