KZN on high alert for wildfires

2015-11-10 11:28

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Pietermaritzburg - As efforts to alleviate one of the worst droughts to hit KwaZulu-Natal continue, on Monday the South African Weather Service issued a warning of a high possibility of wild fires in northern KZN and extreme high temperatures in other parts of the province today.

Ladysmith and Newcastle are predicted to reach 42° Celsius today.

Meanwhile, the fire season has been extended and the possibility of veld fires has increased, according to Working on Fire (WoF).

WoF spokesperson Linton Rensburg said although this year had seen a dramatic decrease in veld fires compared to 2014, the current conditions were “not favourable” for keeping wild fires at bay.

“Our team are on high alert in areas that have been declared disaster zones in the province and will remain active during the summer season,” he said.

Rensburg urged landowners and communities to continue to reduce the burning and storing of fuel loads and to keep up the awareness campaign during the extended fire season.

“From our earlier reports it looks as if we have experienced a much quieter fire season compared to 2014 when we had the worst fire season in seven years,” said Rensburg.

The 2015 winter fire season officially started on the June 1 and normally continues until the end of November.

“KZN experiences very dry winters and is more susceptible to veld and forest fires and already all indications are that this current winter fire season has been one of the best in terms of a reduction in the number of veld and forest fires as recorded by WoF.”

Last year WoF recorded 521 fires, with this year totalling 216.

Rensburg said they had been able to keep the number of veld and forest fires down through partnerships and an increase in awareness from landowners, communities and the forestry industry.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  weather  |  wildfires

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