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Ghana News

Training Community Volunteers to Combat Wildfires in Ghana’s Transition Landscape

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Persistent wildfires during the dry season have become a norm in Ghana, leading to the rapid loss of forest cover and high carbon emission which contributes to climate change. This has led to invaluable loss of farmlands and biodiversity in Ghana’s transition landscape, one of the most wildfire-prone areas in the country.

In response to this menace, Ghana, EcoCare Ghana, and Tropenbos Ghana, with support from the European Union, have collaborated with the Ghana National Fire Service to train about 180 community members from three districts in the transition landscape. The volunteers were trained to serve as first responders to fire prevention, monitoring, and control.

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The first batch of the fire volunteer squad was inaugurated on Wednesday, January 25th, and equipped with basic firefighting tools to aid their work. Speaking at the inauguration, Obed Owusu Addai, the Co-founder, and Managing Campaigner for EcoCare Ghana, stated that it was important to train and equip community members on wildfire management to protect EcoCare Ghana and Tropenbos Ghana’s landscape restoration efforts and enhance food security.

Through the European Union-funded LEAN Project, the two organizations have invested heavily in tree planting and supported farmers to adopt climate-smart agriculture practices across the landscape. The fire incidents have contributed to biodiversity loss, reduced soil fertility, and contributed to poverty.

The Fire Safety Officer at Bono East Regional Fire Service, Imoro Ibrahim, acknowledged that the Ghana National Fire Service needs to collaborate with community members to end the menace of wildfires. He was optimistic that the support given to the volunteers through the LEAN Project will help combat wildfires and reduce their destructive impact.

The Deputy Bono East Regional Forestry Commission Director, Rev. Obour-Wiredu, reiterated the need for stakeholders in the transition landscape to collaborate. He cautioned farmers within the landscape to protect the environment against wildfires to safeguard food security for the country.

This training of the fire volunteer squad is part of the Landscapes and Environmental Agility across the Nation (LEAN) Project, a four-year project funded by the European Union’s flagship GCA+ initiative. The project aims to conserve biodiversity, build climate resilience, reduce emissions from land-use changes, and help smallholder farmers improve their livelihoods.

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