Man burns to death in veldfires

2011-08-24 18:07
Johannesburg - A man burnt to death and another was injured during veldfires in the North West, police said on Wednesday.

Brigadier Thulane Ngubane said the man was sent with co-workers to collect cattle from a farm that was on fire in Groot Marico on Tuesday.

He did not return with them, he said.

The man's body was found after the fire was brought under control.

Ngubane said the fire started on Tuesday morning near Klerkskraal and Rysmierbult.

"The fire was...made uncontrollable by the strong gale force winds which were at some instances blowing at the estimated speed of 53km/h," he said in a statement.

"As a result of this... the areas of Potchefstroom North, Muiskraal, Rysmierbult, Welverdiend, Mooibank, Kromdraai, Parys, Lindequesdrift, Fochville, Enselspruit, Klipdrift and Vredefort Dome were affected."

400+ cattle burn to death

Over 60 000 hectares of land was destroyed in the fire.

Smoke from the fires, near Potchefstroom, reduced visibility to such an extent there was a three-vehicle pile-up on the N14 between Ventersdorp and Carletonville. The highway was closed.

It was reopened once the fires were brought under control.

In Carletonville, 400 adult cattle and 18 calves burnt to death.

"Some of the cattle were killed instantly by the fire while others had to be put down by members of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) and the farm owners," Ngubane said.

SPCA spokesperson Celeste Houseman said the organisation was still receiving reports of animals that were injured in the fire.

"Numbers of animals badly burnt or having to be emergency-slaughtered are beginning to be received but are sketchy at this stage in terms of giving an overall picture," she said.

She said veterinarians were working with police and emergency services in assisting animals in Heilbron, Edenville and Steynsrus.

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