Mahikeng – Communities in the North West, including farmers are warned against
veld fires that are predominant during this season. Burning of vegetation during land
preparation, and disposing of cigarette stubs, matches, and lighters is discouraged
especially where they can potentially cause fire.
Accidents, deliberate acts of arson, burning of debris, and fireworks are as well
substantial causes of wildfires. Residents are also cautioned not to throw bottles in the
veld as they can magnify the sun’s rays and start fires.
Farmers are advised to ensure that firebreaks are well placed, especially in summer
when the fuel load is high and may exacerbate the spread of fires. “Veld fires are a
threat to life, livestock, and vegetation. Owners of land are encouraged to comply with
the National Veld and Forest Fire Act Act 101 of 1998 by constructing, maintaining fire
breaks, and ensuring that firefighting equipment is well serviced.
“A number of cases have been recorded and this raises an environmental management
and sustainability impact concern as the effects posed by veld fires include property
damage, reduced soil fertility, destruction of vegetation, grazing land for animals, air
and water pollution as well as the destruction of wildlife,” said the Department of
Agriculture and Rural Development MEC Desbo Mohono.
Although human error is not the only cause of veld fires, weather conditions and
environmental factors such as drought, winds, and extreme heat can cause the fire to
spread faster and be extremely dangerous.
Members of the public are advised to refrain from containing or putting out veld fires
themselves as this may pose a danger to them. In the event of a fire, contact trained
personnel to extinguish the fire.
Contact details in case of emergency:
Chairperson of the North West Umbrella Fire Protection Association (NWUFPA)
Eric Stoch: 071 077 6653
Communication Services Directorate
Enquiries: Ms Emelda Setlhako
Twitter: @nwpg _dard
YouTube: North West Agriculture and Rural Development