The Importance of Fire Management in Hwange National Park: Hideaways And CWF Prepare For Fire Season

The fragility of our environment is multi-layered, as is our potential for positive impact through conservation projects. Involvement with such initiatives as CWF are not only imperative for anti-poaching, but extend to conservation awareness through forest and fire management in order to protect natural spaces and our wildlife. 

The Conservation Wildlife Fund (CWF), founded in 2016, is a conservation collaboration between various safari operators in Hwange National Park (Zimbabwe), NGO’s, local stakeholders and government institution. The National Park does not have the funding to fulfil critical responsibilities such as fire management, having to deploy teams and equipment necessary for successful protection methods, hence such relationships are vital to sustainable conservation. 

It is crucial to create fire breaks every year around the borders of Hwange. Timing is of the essence as attempting to control fires any later than July brings the prevailing August winds, which deem impossible to maintain. It can take a year for an area to recover from a bush fire – destroying the possibility of a healthy forest or grasslands. These ‘hot burns’ devastate the habitat of young trees and grass seed bank in the soil, stunting the environment. The pioneer species that start to establish themselves in areas that have been subjected to excessive fire damage are often unpalatable to game, so large tracts of land are rendered unsuitable to wildlife.  

It is in the spaces fringed with grass and acacia tress where animals congregate, and due to the nature of the grassland, are most vulnerable to fire. Hot fires travel at a tremendous speed, often engulfing wildlife, both large and small. Saving these areas means salvaging where animals feed and gather at pans for water – their lifeblood being the most exposed to devastation.

To prepare for the fire season, the CWF team and the teams on the ground at the Hideaways Lodge in Hwange have already started clearing and burning fire breaks. In order to be better equipped to fight the fires that will inevitably come, they are appealing for donations to purchase a chainsaw and two blowers plus consumables and spares to the value of US $2 400.

Please contact manager@conservationwildlifefund.org if you would like to contribute to this conservation initiative to help maintain our wild spaces.

Hideaways is a founding member of CWF and our guests visiting Elephant’s Eye, Hwange and Nantwich Lodge each contribute US$ 20 per bed-night to the conservation fund. With no tourism income for the past 2 months and foreseeable months ahead, we would like to reach out to our valuable partners to help us spread the word for this initiative and donations that will go a long way in protecting these wild spaces. Please feel free to contact us at info@hideawaysafrica.com to find out more.