FS MEC calls for 'joint forces' over veldfires

FS MEC calls for 'joint forces' over veldfires

Farming communities in the Free State have severely been affected by veld fires that erupted in the province which left them in dire a situation.

veldfire wildfire

This is according to the Agriculture MEC, William Bulwane. 

Addressing Members of the Provincial Legislature on Friday, Bulwane has stressed the need for the province to join hands in lending assistance to farmers whose land, properties, and livestock were destroyed when runaway fires broke out at the beginning of the week in the Herzogville and Hoopstad areas. 

Working on Fire has confirmed that the veld fires, which extend to the Northern Cape. damaged about 100 000 hectares in the Free State. 

ALSO READ: Authorities battle to contain Free State veldfires

Bulwane says the fires left many farmers in a desperate situation, which also threatens food security in the province. He says one farmer has badly been injured and is fighting for his life in ICU in Bloemfontein.

He confirms that the extend of the damage is yet to be determined.

“Let us not politicise matters that do not need politics in it and join hands to help those farmers. We must work together. The damage is so huge, we can’t quantify it now. We do not know how many hectors have been burned [and] how many livestock have been affected. We need to joint hands”, said Bulwane.

It is reported that another farmer in Hertzogville lost approximately R900 000 in livestock and incurred about R3 million in damage to property on his farm.

OFM News has reported that it's alleged the fire broke out during protests by local residents of the township over water issues. It has further been alleged the fire started on the R708 and the flames spread quickly in the veld, which led to multiple fires that then raged in the direction of Dealesville, Bultfontein, and Hoopstad.

Working on Fire’s spokesperson, Wayne Mokhethi, on Tuesday told OFM News the recent heatwave and strong winds coupled with the Fire Danger Index being red, have fuelled the situation.

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