Home News Thousands of hectares of farmland destroyed by run-away veld fires

Thousands of hectares of farmland destroyed by run-away veld fires

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Veld fires raging in the Northern Cape and the Free State have resulted in extensive damage amounting to millions of rand and the loss of livestock, as well as wild animals, on farms located in both provinces.

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VELD fires raging in the Northern Cape and the Free State have resulted in extensive damage amounting to millions of rand and the loss of livestock, as well as wild animals, on farms located in both provinces.

Thousands of hectares of farmland have been destroyed by run-away fires these past few days.

Veld fires were reported in the districts of Boshoff, Dealesville and Hertzogville in the Free State and on the border areas with the Northern Cape as well as in the Warrenton area.

The owner of Van Zyl Groothandel Vleis in Kimberley, Gielie van Zyl, said that they lost many hectares of grazing land to a fire on their farm located on the border of the Northern Cape and the Free State.

“Our farm is located partially in Boshoff and partially in the Northern Cape. It is situated on the N12. Things are currently bad on the farm as we have lost 800 hectares of grazing land. Luckily, none of our livestock has succumbed to the fire,” Van Zyl said on Wednesday.

“The most extensive damage we suffered is the damage caused to the Eskom power lines. We do not have any electricity on the farm currently. Those power lines will have to be replaced and that process is going to be costly.

“Another costly expenditure is the damage to the fence and the grazing land. We will also have to replace the fence and the animals also need to be fed. We can currently not give a total sum of the losses suffered but it is a lot thus far,” added Van Zyl.

He said that while they had received assistance from a number of people to help fight the blaze, the rapid pace at which the fire spread made it challenging to extinguish.

“We have received assistance from people from Kuruman, Bloemhof and other surrounding areas. What made it challenging to fight the fire was that the people who came to assist were not familiar with the area and did not know where the water points were. The fire also spread at a very fast pace.”

Van Zyl said it took them several hours to extinguish the fire on their farm.

“The fire on our farm erupted on Monday morning. We only managed to extinguish it by 7pm on Monday night. We had to fight it from behind to ensure that it did not spread to other areas. However, it flared up once again on Tuesday. The second fire was luckily not as severe as it flared up in a rocky area. We managed to extinguish that one too.”

He said that the cause of the fire was being investigated.

“There are allegations that someone was repairing a fence. The person was apparently using a grinder and the sparks from the machine ignited the fire. Those are still allegations and nothing has been established yet,” he said.

Van Zyl added that, fortunately, the fire on his farm will not have an effect on the production of meat.

“Currently the fire will not have any effect on the production of meat. We still have livestock and production can carry on. There are farmers who lost most of their livestock as well as their wild animals. The biggest concern currently is the provision of grazing land and fodder for the animals,” said Van Zyl