In December, the rainy season ends in Senegal, gradually giving way to the dry season. Unfortunately, the dry season creates ideal conditions for brush fires.
Senegal: a victim of its lush vegetation
The vegetation, which was such a vibrant green during the rainy season, dries out in the warm desert wind during the dry season. This creates straw, which is omnipresent in the landscapes of Teranga Country (‘hospitality’ in Wolof, the national language) and is the fuel of choice for brush fires.
How do these fires start?
Most of these fires are the result of human activities such as: poorly-controlled domestic fires, collection of wild honey in trees, access of livestock farmers to pastures, the burnt land practices of farmers, etc.
More than 1500 brush fires are started every year in Senegal. These brush fires cause considerable damage to the country:
- they compromise natural regeneration,
- they endanger biodiversity,
- they destroy animal fodder,
- they contribute to the erosion and leaching of arable soil.
The ecological monitoring centre has set up a programme to fight against brush fires.
Senegal, through its ecological monitoring centre CSE (http://www.cse.sn) has set up an ambitious programme to fight brush fires. Back in the 1990s, a real-time satellite geolocation system was implemented all over the country to track brush fires. Unfortunately, for a long time the Senegalese authorities had to settle for simply watching their screens at the Ministry of the Environment and observing the damage caused by those fires. Since 2014, thanks to funding from the Netherlands, the CSE equipped the Department of Water and Forests with a complete brigade of Komatsu and Bomag vehicles supplied by BIA.
How are the vehicles sold by BIA used?
Thanks to its two Komatsu GD663 graders, its D155 bulldozer, and its Bomag BW212 compactor, it is now possible to create wide laterite tracks that serves both as a communication channel in the most remote regions of the country, and as a fire break to prevent the spread of fires.