New fires wreak havoc

Alfred Moselakgomo

Alfred Moselakgomo

New veld fires have caused at least R3million in damage destroying livestock, grazing areas and equipment.

Fanned by 40kmh winds, new fires were raging in Belfast, Badplaas, Machadodorp and Carolina yesterday.

Bales of fodder and telephone lines were also destroyed by the raging flames.

Local farmer Berry Kotze said he had lost all 600 sheep.

The fire emergency body, Working on Fire, said at least 10 fires had been reported in Mpumalanga and neighbouring Swaziland this week.

Some farmers and farm workers were treated for burns from fighting the fires at Belfast Hospital last night.

No deaths were reported.

Earlier this month, reports said 10 people had died in the Mpumalanga fires, while 37400 hectares of plantations and 15000 hectares of grazing fields were destroyed.

Meanwhile, the landfill site outside the old Nelspruit Airport has been burning for two weeks.

The Mbombela municipality has urged companies and the public to stop dumping on the site.

"Despite the combined efforts of the municipal fire brigade and the Working on Fire emergency and rescue teams to extinguish the fire, the site is still smoldering with some rubble clearly burning from below," said municipal spokesman, Vusi Sibiya.

"This is highly dangerous as more rubbish could add fuel to the smoldering waste, should strong winds be experienced," said Sibiya.

He said the municipality had appointed a private company to start working on the landfill site to kill the persistent fires and ensure no more flare-ups.

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