Upper East Deputy Regional Manager of the Forestry Commission, Emmanuel Ntiako says the bush fire is the most dangerous weapon to the savannah woodlands.

Therefore, he said, concerted efforts were needed to change the annual trend of bush fires in the region.

Mr Ntiako said the trend continued to be a threat to vegetative cover as it harmed tree saplings and seedlings, both matured and new ones among others which also affected human life, especially in fringe communities.

Speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency in Bolgatanga, he said many livelihoods depended on the trees while women, especially relied on forest products to sustain their families.

Therefore, he said it was not acceptable for people to destroy the forest through bush fires.   He said forest reserves in the Region were created for many purposes, including the protection of the white and Black Volta Rivers from drying up.   

He reiterated that bush fires were prohibited in those areas.   He said though many schools of thought and local knowledge accepted views that bush burning reduced rampant snakebites, it had dire consequences on the environment and wildlife.   

“If you don’t burn for some time the soil will get replenished, get richer and fresh foliage will increase for livestock to feed on,” he noted.   He urged opinion leaders and chiefs in communities to help sensitize the people and called for enforcement of the laws to deter culprits from such acts.   

The Forest Protection Act, 1974, N.R.C.D. 243 provides functions of forest officers and offences relating to forest reserves and its related matters. 

It states inter alia that, “a person who sets fire to grass or herbage, or kindles a fire without taking due precaution to prevent its spread, makes or lights a fire contrary to an order of the forestry commission, among others commits an offence and is liable on summary convictions to a fine not exceeding five hundred penalty units or a term of imprisonment not exceeding two years or to both fine and the imprisonment.”