A community in the north of Pretoria had to spring into action on Saturday afternoon, as a fire blazed through 600 hectares of land.
The community members, consisting of about 70 volunteers and some elderly people offering refreshments to parched residents, took to protect their homes and livestock from the scorching flames.
A resident on a plot facing the fire Bonita Read said: “I was on my way to buy dog food when I saw black smoke in the distance and called it in.
“My gut feel told me that the fire was heading our way and with the wind blowing towards me, it would reach our area very soon.”
Fire Protection Association (FPA) co-ordinator for Apies river Tarien Cooks said the fire scorched near the plotlands of Bultfontein, Vastfontein and Rooiwal after it started around 3pm.
“The fire started on a nearby farm which was used for grazing, however, we are not sure how it started.”
She said the residents notified FPA about the fire, which prompted them to spring into action. Cooks said the fire spread very quickly, heading east.
“Due to the strong winds and dry weather conditions of yesterday, the fire was spreading rapidly.”
Cooks said volunteers were activated as various members already owned various fire-fighting equipment, along with the Tshwane emergency department and Sinoville fire association.
“About six bakkies with skid units were used to prevent the fire from spreading to the plots.”
She said the community was faced with many battles such as time and difficult terrain.
“The fire was spreading towards difficult uphill terrain, and tractors had to be used to battle the fire.”
Cooks said they managed to put out the fire just before 8pm, utilising 20,000l of water.
“We managed to save lives, property and collectors’ exotic birds, however, a wooden shed and a lot of livestock graze was lost.
“We thank the community as this was the biggest fire we have had and there were many homes, pets and livestock in danger,” Cooks said.
This article first appeared on Rekord and was republished with permission.