KZN fire association warns of dangerous season

2014-06-19 00:00

KWAZULU-NATAL is in the midst of a dangerous fire season, so do not start fires that you cannot stop.

That was the warning from Simon Thomas of the KwaZulu-Natal Fire Protects Association yesterday.

“We have not had any serious fires today [yesterday], but there have been sporadic fires across the province,” he said.

Thomas was speaking following fires in the province that claimed several lives, killed livestock and destroyed homes along with livelihoods in several parts of the province, with the Kokstad area being the worst affected.

Four people were killed there and at least 15 farms were reported to have been burnt resulting in millions of loses in livestock and property.

He said unless the weather conditions changed, this was shaping up to be a long winter of fires. “Although we are in the beginning of the fire season, the fire danger index shows it’s extremely dangerous and unless there is change like rain, we are in for a long fire winter.”

He warned members of the public to refrain from starting fires.

“Don’t start fires that you cannot stop.”

Following the disaster in Kokstad, the ANC yesterday called on the public and business people to assist those whose lives had been ruined by the blaze.

The party said: “The effects of wildfires on people’s lives and on the commercial farmers have been massive and that has had a terrible impact on the local economies of the affected areas. The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal calls on all sectors of government to provide an immediate response to the victims.”

It said the magnitude of the effects of the wild fires also requires all sectors of society to lend a helping hand to the victims.

“The private sector should also come on board and provide assistance and we call on insurance companies to ensure that they process claims from the farmers swiftly to prevent affected areas from plunging into economic doldrums,” said the party.

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