More veld fires expected

2017-06-21 06:00

DESTRUCTIVE veld fires in the Eastern Cape coastal areas have hardly been contained, and now bush and veld fires are expected in the western and central areas of the province.

According to the weather office in Port Elizabeth, the fires are expected to occur today from 11am to 7pm due to the little or no rain that has fallen in certain parts lately.

“When there has been little or no rain for long periods of time, and then warm, dry winds start to blow, veld and forest fires can easily arise and spread very quickly,” said Hugh van Niekerk, regional manager of the weather office.

He pointed out that no fires should be made in the open air and fires should not be left unmanned.

“Please do not throw cigarette stumps out of cars or in the veld.

“It is also important that empty bottles are not thrown or left in the veld, as these can focus the rays of the sun which can burn vegetation and allow veld fires to start,” said Van Niekerk.

Where large fires occur, it is important that it is reported immediately and that people will move away from the area concerned and leave it to the trained personnel to fight the fires.

“Never pour water on a fire caused by an electric fault, oil or paraffin lamps. In this case sand or a blanket should be used to extinguish the fire.

“The orders of disaster management must be respected at all times,” added Van Niekerk.

The devastating fires in the Eastern Cape coastal area have caused hundreds of millions of rands’ damage in the municipal areas of Kouga and Nelson Mandela recently.

A total of 60% of the Longmore plantation, as well as the sawmill, were destroyed by the flames.

The Department of Social Development has been in the process of determining the damage that occurred on farms as well as the needs of those affected by the fires.

The Thornhill Farmers Association is also in the process of determining damage and believes that the process will take time to complete.

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