Berg hikers warned of dry conditions

2010-09-16 00:00

EZEMVELO KZN Wildlife (EKZNW) yesterday warned that conditions in the uKha­hlamba-Drakensberg Park are extremely dry, with a very high risk of fires.

Spokesperson Jeff Gaisford said hikers should be extremely cautious about using camping stoves and anything producing a naked flame, such as matches or cigarette lighters.

He said no open fires are permitted anywhere in the park other than in demarcated areas such as picnic and camping sites.

“Visitors wishing to light braai fires at picnic or campsites should consider the prevailing wind strength before doing so as many runaway fires have been started by braai fires being lit in windy conditions. Cigarette butts should be properly extinguished and carried away with all other refuse.”

Gaisford said the burning of toilet paper is discouraged at present.

He warned hikers to keep the possibility of runaway fires in mind when setting up overnight camps and to choose a site that offers easy escape in the event of a fire.

“Camping near to already burnt areas does offer a degree of safety.” He also cautioned hikers to consider personal security when hiking in the high berg. Hikers should contact EKZNW staff in the area where they wish to hike to get information about conditions throughout the 260 000-hectare park.

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