An estimated 80 000 ha of natural vegetation was destroyed by fires in Dithabaneng and nearby areas in the Thabazimbi district over the past two weeks.
Provincial Spokesperson of Working on Fire, Matema Gwangwa informed Polokwane Observer on Tuesday that the fire started in the mountains last Sunday and went on for days before it could be brought under control. The cause of the fire is not yet known.
“This has been one of our toughest weeks. More than 150 firefighters from across the Waterberg district have been working hard around the clock to suppress one of the longest and most challenging fires the province has ever experienced in the area. Aerial resources, including a spotter and chopper were also dispatched for this fire,” Gwangwa said.
“The reason this fire has prolonged is due to the strong winds and the change in the weather behaviour. Even though the mountainous terrain was challenging our firefighters endured due to the level of fitness that has been implemented on them. Several infrastructures were threatened by these wildfires, which resulted in WoF bringing in more firefighters to assist in protecting these infrastructures from being burned. At the moment neither property nor lives have been lost in this fire.”
At the time of going to press Gwangwa said the fire was under control but not yet contained. “We will continue with mopping up and monitoring the area for any flares that might spark and start more fires,” Gwangwa said.
Story: Herbert Rachuene