Home News Farmers call for urgent intervention as veld fires rage in NC

Farmers call for urgent intervention as veld fires rage in NC

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A number of massive veld fires are currently blazing in several different areas in the Northern Cape.

A massive veld fire along the Douglas road over the weekend. Pictures: Danie van der Lith

FARMERS in the Northern Cape have called for urgent intervention, including from the SANDF, to help fight the veld fires that have been raging in the Province for the past three days.

About eight massive fires are apparently currently blazing in several different areas in the Province.

There are veld fires in the Griekwastad area, Douglas area, Magersfontein area, along the N12 near Ritchie, and the Langberg area.

Farmers and those who assisted in fighting the fires on the weekend noted that “massive losses” have been suffered.

“At the moment, we cannot state how much of the land is destroyed or give a cumulative amount of the losses suffered. What is visible, however, is that there are massive losses suffered by those affected. The focus now is to extinguish these fires that have been flaring up everywhere,” they said.

They called for more manpower and supplies to fight the fires.

“There are people fighting fires in different parts of the Province. Those people are exhausted and are in need of supplies since they had been on the scene throughout the night,” one of the farmers said on Monday.

“The fire from the Douglas area has now spread along the N12 to Ritchie. We urgently need more people with water tanks to come and assist to fight the fires. We also need resources, such as food, water, ice, eye drops, painkillers and sunscreen, for those who are currently busy fighting the fires.

“The firefighters from Kimberley and the army also urgently need to intervene in this matter.”

The Northern Cape Department of Agriculture, Environmental Affairs, Land Reform and Rural Development has meanwhile warned road users and the local community to be on the alert when using the N12 road between Ritchie and Hopetown as veld fires in that area have spiralled out of control.

Department spokesperson Zandisile Luphahla said on Monday that thousands of hectares of land have been destroyed by the fire.

“So far, more than 43,000 hectares of land, including grazing land, is reported to have been destroyed by the fire over a large area and local landowners have described the fires as totally out of control. Agricultural and tourism sector infrastructure has been destroyed and severely damaged, while large-scale stock and game losses have occurred,” Luphahla said.

He added that the current weather conditions are making it “challenging” to extinguish the fires.

“The fires are exacerbated by changes in strong wind direction from northerly to westerly, which has caused a large-scale spread of fires over extended fire fronts this afternoon. The Frances Baard District Municipality has sent out the disaster management team to fight the fire, however, strong winds are making it difficult to contain the fires. We urge individuals to stay clear of the area and report any possible spread of the fire.

“The provincial government will continually assess the damages caused by the fire and in the interim release emergency fodder from its Fodder Bank to assist affected farmers to feed their livestock,” Luphahla concluded.

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