About 33 000 ha of grazing land in the John Taolo Gaetsewe District have been destroyed by veld fires. The fires that raged on the Wonderwerk Farm, 40 km outside Kuruman towards Daniëlskuil, spread to neighbouring farms in the ZF Mgcawu District. These sporadic fires were caused by the aridness of grass and shrubs, as well as prevailing winds. The dryness of vegetation, coupled with the effect of strong winds, create perfect conditions for runaway veld fires in the province.The Northern Cape Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development reiterated its call to all land users and farmers to continue practising precautionary measures when dealing with veld fires. “The priority must be to reduce the risk of veld fires and combat fires that might occur during the dry season,” said Phemelo Manankong, external communications officer for the department.“Annually, veld fires result in disastrous damage to natural grazing land, animals and properties. In some instances, it even leads to loss of human life.” Earlier this year, about 60 000 ha of grazing land were ravished by veld fires in the Boshoff District, on farms bordering the Northern Cape and the Free State.Meanwhile, 5 923 ha of grazing land were destroyed by veld fires in Majeng in the Magareng Local Municipality. According to Manankong, preliminary assessment had revealed that about 26 camps, 37 smallholdings, 926 units of large stock and 200 units of small stock were affected. Full assessment might cover infrastructure. Farmers and land users are encouraged to report veld fires to their nearest fire station or police station on 10177 or 086-001-0111.