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Play your part to prevent veld fires

Major grass fires next to major routes can also result in fatal vehicle crashes.

Grass/veld fires can start and spread quickly and are extremely dangerous to life and property.

According to William Ntladi, district manager media liaison for Ekurhuleni Disaster and Emergency Management Services (DEMS), grass fires can emit heavy smoke which obscures vision, irritates the eyes and negatively affects those with chronic lung diseases.

Major grass fires next to major routes can also result in fatal vehicle crashes.

READ: Preventing shack fires

Ntladi provided the following tips to prevent grass fires:

  • Motorists who smoke must cease throwing lit cigarette ends out of their vehicles.
  • Avoid burning combustibles on windy, dry days. When conditions are windy or dry, it is easy for open flames to spread uncontrollably.
  • Glass can magnify the sun’s rays and start a fire. Do not leave broken glass on dry grass.
  • Matches and lighters in the wrong hands can lead to a fire. Children shouldn’t be allowed to play with these items.
  • Avoid overgrown, dense and dry vegetation next to dwellings. This poses a danger to the structures.
  • Never leave campfires unattended. Extinguish them properly after use.
  • Thatch roof structures are susceptible to fires. Extinguish braai fires immediately after use. Do not leave braai fires unattended.
  • Do not use flammable liquids to burn bush, trash or other waste.

Subject to provision of the Veld and Forest Act and Environmental Management Act, no person may make an open, uncontrollable or unattended fire or permit a fire to be made in such a manner as to pose a real or potentially real threat to any human being, animal, building, premises or other properties.

READ: Fires and fire safety – what you can do, to keep your loved ones safe

Permission for such needs to be obtained from the local chief fire officer.

In case of an emergency, call DEMS on 011 458 0911 (life threatening Ekurhuleni emergency line), 10177 (national toll-free number) or 112 (cellphone).

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 or Miné Fourie (journalist) minev@caxton.co.za

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