Fire, strong winds warning for Eastern Cape

2014-08-18 11:36

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Johannesburg - The Eastern Cape provincial government warned residents in certain parts of the province on Monday of strong winds and veld fires.

"A high veld fire danger rating is expected in the north-western interior and along the coast in the Great Kei and Mnquma area," it said in a statement.

Strong winds often occurred along coastal regions, and during thunderstorms.

"These winds are sudden and can cause much damage."

It was advisable to stay indoors where possible, and away from windows facing the wind.

Travellers were warned to be aware of sudden cross-winds, especially between buildings, and fallen trees, power-lines, or flying debris.

Listen for warnings

"Small boats must stay away from the open sea and seek the shelter of a harbour, river estuary, or protected bay," the province said.

"Parked aircraft should be pointed into the direction of the wind and secured. Listen to the radio or TV for warnings, and obey the instructions from disaster management officers."

The risk of veld fires was linked to prolonged periods of little or no rain, coupled with warm, dry winds.

"Veld or bush fires can easily be sparked and will spread rapidly in strong winds," the province said.

Residents were advised to not make fires in the open, leave fires unattended, and not to throw cigarette butts out of cars, or in the veld.

"Don’t throw bottles in the veld as they can magnify the sun’s rays and start fires," it said.

"Prepare and maintain fire breaks in [a] controlled manner."

Large fires should be reported to authorities.

"Never throw water onto a fire started by an electrical fault or fires started by oil or paraffin lamps. In this case, sand or a blanket should be used to smother the fire."

Rural development MEC Mlibo Qoboshiyane appealed to residents to remain vigilant.

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