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Zimbabwe: 2 die in wildfires, vast areas razed

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October 7, 2013 07:19 AM EST | AP


HARARE, Zimbabwe — HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — Zimbabwe's state Environmental Management Agency says at least two people have died as wildfires burned nearly a million hectares (2.4 million acres) of remote bush land.

State radio said Monday the agency reported two confirmed deaths in sparsely-populated countryside east of Harare.

The fires were fanned by winds a month before seasonal rains are set to start around November.

Agency spokesman Steady Kangata told the state broadcaster there appeared to be "a marked increase" in the total area swept by the fires nationwide in recent weeks compared to previous dry seasons.

He said more steps were needed to guard against bush fire outbreaks.

Most are started accidentally in tinder-dry grass, but poachers have been blamed for lighting some fires to force animals and rodents to run into traps and nets.