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Severe weather warning

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Farmers from the region were continuing to battle sporadic fires during the last two months.

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NORTHERN Cape farmers are continuing to battle devastating veld fires that have already destroyed thousands of hectares of grazing land since the start of spring, while extreme heat conditions predicted for the Province during the next week are expected to further aggravate the situation.

The South African Weather Service yesterday issued a “severe weather warning” with regard to veld fire conditions for the entire Northern Cape and said that extremely high fire danger conditions were expected over the interior of the Northern Cape, with heatwave conditions expected over the eastern parts of the Province.

Temperatures are set to soar into the high thirties for the remainder of the week, with highs of 37, 39, 39, 38, 38, and 38 degrees Celsius predicted for Tuesday to Sunday in Kimberley. In Upington, temperatures are expected to exceed the 40 degrees Celsius mark, with 40, 40, 39, 39, 39 and 42 degrees Celsius predicted for the rest of the week.

Meanwhile, farmers affected by the recent veld fires in the Province said yesterday that the extreme heat conditions were “completely scorching” the new green growth seen after the fires.

Jan Joubert, a farmer from the Danielskuil area, said that sporadic fires were continuing in the region but were “nothing” compared to the September fires that left roughly 32 000 hectares of veld destroyed and several farms completely ravaged.

He added that scorching conditions during the last two weeks had burnt the new green growth that was seen sprouting in the veld. Joubert pointed out that while no stock or animal losses were reported during the fires, farmers now had to depend on donations to feed their animals after grazing land was destroyed.

Ba Flemming, from the Warrenton area, added that farmers from the region were continuing to battle sporadic fires during the last two months.

He added that about 30 000 hectares of grazing land had been destroyed during recent fires and farmers were also depending on donations (mostly private) to feed their animals.

“There is absolutely nothing left for animals to eat on the land. We are just grateful for people and businesses across the country who have opened their hearts and donated feed,” Flemming said.

Meanwhile, Northern Cape Department of Education spokesperson, Geoffrey van der Merwe, has cautioned pupils and parents ahead of the extreme heat they can expect to experience during the course of this week.

“We encourage parents to ensure that their children stay out of direct contact with the sun, wear sunscreen, drink enough water and make use of a cap or umbrella during the day,” Van der Merwe said.

– Norma Wildenboer