Worker killed in Free State fires

2011-08-24 22:21

Bloemfontein - A farm worker was killed while fighting fires in the Free State on Wednesday, a provincial farmers' body said.

He died from wounds sustained on the farm Welgerust in the Vredefort area, the local representative for Free State Agriculture Tommie Esterhuizen said.

Two other workers were slightly injured. Between 20 000ha and 22 000ha were destroyed in the fire between Vredefort and Koppies.

“The fire started at the Vredefort refuse dumps and moved in the direction of Koppies, jumping over the toll road.”

In Vredefort 10 stud cattle were killed and about 20 000 bales of feed destroyed.

In the Koppies region 7 000ha went up in smoke. Rossouw said mainly grazing was destroyed.

A farmer was injured when two vehicles crashed into each other in the thick smoke while they were fighting the flames.

Most of the veldfires in the Free State were under control on Wednesday.

Working on Fire (WoF) spokesperson Saayman Rossouw said farmers and a WoF team were still watching over the remains of a veldfire in the Steynsrus area, which was under control by the morning.

“It flared up again during Wednesday, but it was mostly under control.”

On Tuesday, strong winds fuelled several fires in areas such as Steynsrus, Vredefort, Koppies, Lindley, Kroonstad, Senekal, Edenville and Arlington.

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