JOHANNESBURG — Firefighters continued to battle blazes across South Africa on Tuesday with costs mounting and farmers asking to have their farms declared emergency areas.
Working on Fire (WOF) spokeswoman Val Charlton said, “We have no resources left. We are stretched to the full.”
WOF had 29 teams of 22 people each in the field across the country and many were working with hand tools to make sure there were no live embers.
Charlton said a small fire was burning in Hebron in Mpumalanga province but it was expected that the fire would burn itself out.
A fire at Mac in the province was contained as was a fire at Duga Duga.
Firefighters were on full alert in Mpumalanga as the province was expecting strong winds and hot weather on Tuesday.
KwaZulu-Natal, where fires have also been raging, was expected to have cooler weather on Tuesday which was a relief for firefighters.
On Monday, a six-year-old girl, Bonakele Ngema, died in a fire in a house in the province. She was trapped while seeking refuge from a roaring blaze which bore down on her in Mntanenkosi reserve.
Prisoners had to be evacuated from Mbazwana Police Station to Emanguzi Police Station in KwaZulu-Natal while policemen used buckets of water to fight a forest fire threatening the building. Three vehicles were burnt out.
Free State province Agriculture have requested that farmlands ravaged by fires in areas including Senekal be declared an emergency area.
General manager Pieter Moller said he had requested the government to conduct a survey to assess the damage, which had affected the availability of fodder.
The fire, which started outside the park last Tuesday, took twodays to bring under control, he said. It destroyed about 5,000 hectares to 6,000 hectares of forest.
Most of the fires started at the weekend. Hot, dry and windy conditions across the country have created the perfect conditions for fires.