An estimated 33 000 hectares of grazing land in John Taolo Gaetswe (JTG) District on the Wonderwerk farm 40 km outside Kuruman on the R31 road has been destroyed by a ravaging fire.
According to a statement released by the Northern Cape Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (NCDALR) the fires have spread to the neighbouring farms in the ZF Mcgawu District.
The dryness of the grass and shrubs combined with the usual winds during spring are mainly the cause of the fires. These conditions are perfect for runaway veldfires, the department said in the statement.
The Northern Cape Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development has pleaded with farmers and other land users to “continue practice precautionary measures when dealing with veld fires.”
A total of about 60 000 hectares of grazing land were destroyed by veld fires in the Boshof District farms bordering Northern Cape and Free State Province earlier this year. Fires similarly ruined 5923 hectares of grazing land were destroyed by veld fires in Majeng in the Warrenton area. A preliminary assessment conducted by NCDALR shows that about 26 camps, 37 smallholder farmers, 926 large stock and 200 small stock were affected. The department fears that infrastructure might also be affected concluded.
“The priority must be to reduce the risk of veld fires as well as preparedness to combat fires that might occur during this dry 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,” the statement cautioned.
The Department has urged motorists and pedestrians not to throw away cigarettes butts while driving or walking.