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The ins and outs of veld fires

SANDTON – With high winds and dry conditions, wild veld fires are a problem. Here is what you can do.

 

With the recent devastating veld fires that were reported in the Western Cape, the NSPCA has issued a warning on fire safety.

Daily high winds and dry conditions across South Africa, can cause immense damage and loss to lives and property due to fires. Some fires are caused by carelessness, some by maliciousness and some are acts of nature such as lightning.

This according to a release by the NSPCA that stated fires commonly occur when veld is dry and winds are high – ideal conditions for a spark or flame to turn into a runaway fire, sometimes escalating into a fire disaster.

Animals die every year due to fires. Farm animals are predominantly affected due to intensive and extensive farming practices, however, domestic and wild animals are also affected.

The NSCPA provided some advice on fires:

Be prepared:

  • Make sure you have all the necessary emergency contact numbers available
  • When a fire or smoke has been spotted, immediately contact your local municipal fire services.

Prevention:

  • No open fires and fires only to be made at designated fireplaces
  • Set out rules for the people on your property regarding fire safety such as no smoking or open fires in the veld
  • Landowners may not burn fire breaks or carry out controlled burns without permits or when the fire danger rating is high
  • Some veld must sometimes be burned during warm weather to ensure the correct outcome regarding veld management
  • Contact your local municipal fire services to enquire what the daily fire danger rating is for that specific day – remember, the rating changes from day to day depending on the current weather and forecasted weather conditions.

What you can do to assist:

  • Report the location of the fire to the nearest fire department, police, municipal offices, farmers association or any other emergency services in your area
  • Safely ascertain the magnitude of the fire and what animals and, if possible, how many are affected and contact your nearest SPCA or the NSPCA with this information
  • Provide as much detail as possible to enable the NSPCA/SPCA to reach the affected animals in the quickest time practicable
  • Kindly report or make the NSPCA/SPCA aware of situations involving burnt animals that may still be alive.

The NSCPA said that some farmers may not feel the need to humanely euthanise suffering animals and this is a contravention in terms of the Animals Protection Act No. 71 of 1962.

What do you think about the fire season? Share your views with us on the Sandton Chronicle Facebook page

 

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