Residents of Harare awoke yesterday morning to an eerie sky, thick brownish clouds and a strong wind. It looked like ‘rain was blowing in’, but just noticeably not normal cloud cover. It became apparent that there must have been a large fire in the area, so we got in a car and went to investigate.
Charlene Hewat, CEO of Environment Africa. “This has to be the worst fire I have ever seen at the dumpsite, and I believe that only the rains will put this out as it is huge. What a disaster. “, says Charlene Hewat.
We drove to the nearby Pomona Quarry and went to the top of the hill. The entire dump site was engulfed in heavy thick black smoke pouring into the morning air. It looked like heavy black storm clouds and to agitate the fire further, the morning came with strong gusting winds.
I do not have details as to how the fire started. One of the people who have worked at the Quarry for many years says that every year there are fires at the dump site, but this fire is the largest she has ever seen. The smoke was so thick that cars could not drive through the area as the visibility was zero. Fire trucks were in attendance including from Civil Aviation Authority and were dousing the flames with water. A pall of thick smoke still hung over the suburbs surrounding the dump site this evening.
According to Harare Town Clerk, Tendai Mahachi, who was at the site a few minutes ago, he is told the fire was started by a mentally challenged man around 2am today. The same man was chased away from the site last week when he started a fire which was eventually controlled. “The fire is huge and fire tenders are battling to put it out. Dump site fires are difficult to fight as they start again the moment you think you have put the situation under control. We hope the situation would be under control by Monday morning,” said Mahachi.