Farmer dies after Mooi River blaze

2015-06-18 09:05

File (Jonathan Burton, The Witness)

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Pietermaritzburg - A farm caretaker was killed while trying to extinguish a blazing fire on a smallholding in Mooi River.

According to a police source who could not be named, it is believed the caretaker started a small fire to burn trash on a ­smallholding in Mount West on Monday afternoon.

The source said the man failed to “close off the fire properly” and the heavy winds on Tuesday picked up the embers, causing a massive fire on the smallholding that spread into the forestry area nearby.

Firefighters attended to the fire in the neighbouring property and the caretaker tried helplessly to extinguish the flames on the smallholding.

The man died after he inhaled an excessive amount of smoke.

Head of the security desk at the KwaZulu-Natal Agricultural Union (Kwanalu) Koos Marais said they are concerned about the dry conditions caused by a drought, aggravated by strong winds which has caused massive fires in the province.

“We ask farmers to be aware of unattended fires and smoke in their areas and to immediately report this to fire protection services, the police or our security desk,” Marais said.

Marais said there is an increase in farmers burning fire-breaks at this time of year.

“We warn farmers to be extra cautious as well as motorists … not to throw ignited cigarettes butts into these areas”.

The name of the farmer had not been made public at the time of going to press.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  fires

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