Late rain a fire hazard

2011-05-27 00:00

THE late rains this year, persisting into early winter, may paradoxically mean a more dangerous fire season for farmers.

And while it has been chilly the last few days, farmers are concerned that there has not yet been much frost.

KwaZulu-Natal Agricultural Union president Robin Barnsley said yesterday: “We are already in the fire season and some farmers are already starting to burn firebreaks as one of the preventative measures.

“With the late rains there is a danger of increasing run­away fires.

“There is a chance that [the rain] will increase the grass load that could be burned, and increase the chances of serious runaway fires during the fire season.”

He urged farmers to take the necessary precautions this fire season, such as burning firebreaks and training their staff in firefighting.

While city dwellers don’t like frosty mornings and brown lawns, farmers need frost.

Barnsley said there is also a problem with frost.

“This year, the whole province is very late in terms of frost.

“The lateness of the frost has caused a delay in the harvesting of some food products.

“Food groups such as grain and soya beans are not drying up quick enough, so many of the farmers cannot harvest them.”

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