North West farmer seriously burnt after falling from bakkie while fighting veld fires

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Several fires destroyed at least 100,000 ha of pasture between Boshof, Hertzogville and Bultfontein. (Mlungisi Louw)
Several fires destroyed at least 100,000 ha of pasture between Boshof, Hertzogville and Bultfontein. (Mlungisi Louw)
  • A North West farmer who fell from a bakkie while trying to put out veld fires sustained 55% burns and has been hospitalised.
  • A few days ago, a Free State farmer was admitted to hospital in a serious condition after sustaining second and third-degree burns while fighting veld fires.
  • It is estimated that at least 200 000ha of veld was destroyed in several fires that raged over a vast area in the western Free State, Northern Cape and North West.


A young farmer from the Schweizer-Reneke area in North West was in a stable condition on Saturday after he suffered serious burns on Wednesday when he fell from his father-in-law's bakkie during a firefighting effort.

According to Sunday newspaper Rapport, Wimpie Koenig, 36, and his father-in-law Cornie van den Heever, 66, were helping to put out veld fires that had been raging in the area all week when the fire suddenly got out of hand due to wind and started burning right around their bakkie.

While trying to get away from the flames, Koenig reportedly slipped and fell from the back of the bakkie on to the burning grass.

An ambulance reportedly met them halfway and he was rushed to the Wilmed Park hospital in Klerksdorp.

Koenig reportedly sustained 55% burns, mostly to his legs.

Koenig is the second farmer injured while trying to battle veld fires in the country.

Several fires

According to TimesLIVE, a farmer who helped battle fires in Hertzogville in the Free State was fighting for his life in the Life Rosepark Hospital in Bloemfontein.

Netwerk24 reported that Tewie Nel, 28, was in a critical condition after sustaining second- and third-degree burns. Nel was one of many farmers who tried to stop the flames after protesters started a fire by setting alight tyres, a JoJo tank, as well as a piece of field, outside the town.

It is estimated that at least 200 000 hectares of veld was destroyed in the past week in several fires that raged over a vast area in the western Free State, Northern Cape and North West.

According to Rapport, apart from the Hertzogville fire, so far there is little evidence of intentional or politically motivated arson, as claimed in various fake messages doing the rounds on social media.

 - Compiled by Riaan Grobler

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