Forests, grass still burning

Frank Maponya

Frank Maponya

Limpopo continues to experience forest fires that have been raging since early this week.

The fires started on Monday in most parts of the province. The areas affected were identified as Leobi, Zabana, Haenertsburg and Christina's Rust in the Mopani district, where hectares of plantations and orchards have been destroyed.

The provincial disaster management centre has sought the support of two SANDF Air Force helicopters in fighting the fires.

Department of local government and housing spokesman Clayson Monyela said yesterday no injuries or deaths had been reported in the Mopani district.

"In the Vhembe district, the Levubu and Greenfarm areas in Thulamela have been affected by the forest fires," Monyela said. "Families were left without homes."

He said the Vhembe district fire services had the situation under control and the provincial disaster management centre was assisting victims with food, blankets and tents.

Monyela said the fires had destroyed about 30000ha of land in the Vaal Water area of the Waterberg district.

"One person was reported killed and another has been hospitalised," he said.

He said grass fires in the Sekhukhune district, near Jane Furse, had been extinguished.

The department, Monyela said, had stored food and blankets to assist victims as and when the need arose.

He called on communities experiencing forest fires in their areas to contact the provincial disaster toll free number 0800-222-111.

Weather predictions for the rest of the week indicate that dry and windy conditions, favourable for the development of forest fires, will continue.

"The department and other sector departments, together with all stakeholders involved in disaster management, will continue to coordinate efforts to ensure that forest fires are extinguished and victims assisted," Monyela said.