Fires rage in Mpumalanga, KwaZulu-Natal

2012-06-10 16:02

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Johannesburg - Wildfires fanned by gale force winds have ravaged large tracts of land in Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal, the Working on Fire programme (WoF) said on Sunday.

In Mpumalanga, WoF assisted at 19 wildfires between Friday and Sunday. During the same period, it assisted at a further 16 in KwaZulu-Natal and six in Limpopo.

Working on Fire appealed to people to be aware of the risks involved in starting fires.

Trevor Wilson, manager of Mpumalanga's Umbrella Fire Protection Association, and WoF general manager in the province, said he was "absolutely desperate" that people were so oblivious to the risk in starting fires that ended catastrophically.

"We are in serious trouble, our dams are only 20% full and the veld is so dry," he said.

"There is not even enough water for us to use our helicopters and bomber planes to put the wildfires out."

The wildfire season runs from June to October in the northern parts of South Africa, which coincides with the dry season.

Warburton and Piet Retief were the worst affected areas in the province.

In Limpopo, 10 000ha of vegetation were burned in Soekmekaar, said provincial co-ordinator Alwyn Kruger.

"There was an extremely strong wind which, at one stage, was blowing at 64km/hour," he said.

"It happened so suddenly. We were enjoying moderate weather when all of a sudden these high winds, ahead of a massive cold front, started to blow."

Hluhluwe Game Reserve

All WoF's fire fighting teams remained on high alert, he said.

In KwaZulu-Natal, provincial co-ordinator and dispatcher Tracey Carter said the worst affected areas were in Zululand with the Hluhluwe Game Reserve bearing the brunt of the blazes.

"At one stage we had two wildfires on the go simultaneously in Hluhluwe," she said.

"I wish people who carelessly started fires would realise how they are endangering lives. To fight a wildfire in high winds is extremely dangerous."

Weather conditions cooled late on Saturday, but the dry vegetation and lack of rain in the eastern interior meant the fire risk remained high, she said.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
Read more on:    wof  |  mbombela  |  durban  |  fires
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Rugby World Cup 2015

All the action from the 2015 RWC, including live coverage of all 48 matches, breaking news, fixtures, results, logs - and much more!


Rugby World Cup 2015

Habana believes in younger Boks
All Blacks ready for a 'hell of a battle'
Barnes to ref Boks, Wales clash
Brave Blossoms: 'Sport heroes of Japan'

Your incisive and innovative mind is on fire. You may be keen to explore new avenues that can help to inspire you. You more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.