Raging fires in Limpopo claim life of firefighter

Raging fires in Limpopo claim life of firefighter

Carcasses of dead animals scattered all over ravaged game farms and large clouds of smoke hovering above Limpopo’s Waterberg mountains were all that was left as raging veld fires devastated the region.

Gallo Images

The fires have also claimed the life of a firefighter Samuel Ramokgaba,from Northam. He died on Monday morning from burns sustained while fighting the blaze.

As a large contingent of firefighters continue to battle the fires, made worse by the heatwave in the region. At least 80 000 hectares of mainly game farm land in Limpopo have been destroyed.

Maepa said Ramokgaba was declared dead on arrival at Bela Bela hospital on Monday morning after he had been airlifted from the field.

Working on Fire said it would assist Ramokgaba’s family during this difficult time.

“We are trying to contain the fires, but the problem is that in the and throughout the day, when the temperatures rises and strong wind blow, it become difficult to contain,” said Working On Fire operations manager Sam Maepa.

On Tuesday Working on Fire received additional firefighting assistance from Mpumalanga, Gauteng and local municipalities to help contain the fires.

“We have increased the number of firefighters, from 240 to 270, with the team from Mpumalanga and Gauteng,” said Maepa.

The fire, he said, was “extremely” difficult to bring under control. He said he hoped the extra firefighting reinforcements would mean the fires would be brought under control more effectively and extinguished quickly.

Maepa pointed out that the ecological impact of the fire on the game farms was huge, given that most of game farms in the region had been destroyed, with large tracts of scorched black veld visible.

He said it was impossible to predict how long it would take to extinguish the fire.

“In the evening it looks like it’s under control but in the morning and afternoon it becomes so wild, fuelled by the wind and then becomes difficult to contain,” said Maepa.

“We also sympathise with all those who have lost farms, homes and business infrastructure during this ordeal.” - ANA

(File photo: Gallo Images)

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