An evaluation of bush fire prevention and control policy in Ghana

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Bush burning has been part of the Ghanaian land use practice for years, but unfortunately, it easily gets out of control and poses problems of national dimension. In the wake of the bush fire destruction of 1983, the People’s National Defense Council (PNDC) enacted the Bush Fire Prevention Law 46. This was later repealed by the Bush Fire Prevention and Control Law, 1990 (PNDC L. 229). The aim of this study is to evaluate the bush fire prevention and control policy in Ghana. The Brong-Ahafo Region was selected for the study. Kokuma and Chirahini in the Kintampo district, and Woramuso and Amanfrom in the Asutifi district were randomly selected for the study. Bush fire and rainfall data were collected from Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) and Meteorological Service Department respectively to facilitate quantitative analysis of the study. Results of the Study show that despite the existence of the bush fire policy, incidence of bush fires has been generally increasing. This is mainly due to the culture of burning. The general compatibility of the bush fire policy was found to be encouraging. However there are external inconsistencies. After analyzing the policy options, a number of shortfalls were identified. This includes lack of appropriate mitigation measures, lack of major preparedness and low data and information requirements for effective monitoring and feedback. The Study again observed that there is no potency arrangement to co-ordinate bush fire activities at both the national and regional levels. As regards the formulation and implementation of the policy, it was found out that the communities were not involved in any way in the formulation of the policy, and Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) also muddles through in the training of the Fire Volunteers. In effect, there is totally non-adherence to the tenets of the bush fire policy. The study again revealed that many Fire Volunteers are, however, discouraged from performing their duties as expected due to lack of legal defense, finance and other logistical support. It is therefore, recommended that Central government should improve the existing bush fire policy.
A thesis submitted to the Board of Postgraduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Development Policy Planning, 2002