The Northern Cape Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development is urging all land users and farmers to practice precautionary measures when dealing with veld fires. The department says farmers priorities should be focused around reducing the risk of veld fires as well as preparedness to combat fires that might occur during this windy seasons.
Annually veld fires result in disastrous damage to natural grazing land, animals and properties while in some instance it leads to loss of human life. Earlier this year about 60 000 hectares of grazing land were ravished by veld fires in the Boshoff District farms bordering Northern Cape and Free State Province. Departmental spokesperson Phemolo Manankong says these sporadic fires in the main are caused by the aridness of grass and shrubs during this time of the year as well as prevailing winds. “The dryness of the vegetation coupled with the effect of winds create perfect conditions for runaway veld fires in the province – hence precautionary measures must be adhered to,” Manankong elaborated.
The Provincial Department is making a plea to farmers, farm dwellers and motorist to continue acting wisely when dealing with open fires and when operating machinery or smoking. They must continue practicing precautionary measures to help in preventing veld fires. Motorist and pedestrians are also urged not to throw away cigarettes butts while driving or walking. Farmers and land users are encouraged to contact their respective municipalities to report veld fires, nearest fire station or police station on the following numbers 10177 or 08 600 10111.