Department raises fire awareness

2017-06-07 06:03

About 40 000 ha to 50 000 ha of grazing land has reportedly been ravished by veld fires in the area of Middlepos and Calvinia in the Hantam Municipality.

To prioritise the reduction of the risk of veld fires, as well as to increase preparedness to combat fires that might occur, the Northern Cape Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development asks the community to be vigilant.

All land users, especially farmers, are urged to be on alert for veld fires during the winter months.

The department confirms that veld fires result in the disastrous loss of natural grazing land, animals and property every year, while in some instances it leads to a loss of human life.

“Motorists, farmers and farm dwellers are requested to continue acting wisely when dealing with open fires and while operating ­machinery or smoking,” warned Phemeo Manankong of the department.

“They must continue practising precautionary measures to help prevent veld fires.

“Motorists are also urged not to throw cigarette butts out the window while driving.”

Manankong explained that sporadic fires were mainly caused by the aridness of grass and shrubs during this time of the year, as well as prevailing winds.

“The dryness of the vegetation, coupled with the effect of winds, create perfect conditions for run­away veld fires.”

The department promises to closely monitor the situation and encourages members of the public to report veld fires by contacting their respective municipalities on the following numbers:

  • Sol Plaatje: 053-832-4211
  • John Taolo Gaetsewe: 053-712-0457 or 10117
  • Pixley ka Seme: 053-631-0860
  • ZF Mgcawu: 054-337-2815
  • Namaqua: 027-712-8039/ 027-341-8124

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