Runaway fires rage through SA

Runaway fires rage throughSA

3 October 2005

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South Africa — About 400 firefighters have spent the night battling 22 firesraging in Mpumalanga, KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng and Limpopo which started in hotand dry weather conditions, Working on Fire (WF) said on Sunday.

“Fires are burning in conservation lands, commercial forests, grasslands,orchards and at a sawmill,” WF spokesperson Val Charlton said.

A total of 26 22-person WF crews were helping local firefighters bring thefires under control.

Earlier on Sunday a WF helicopter succeeded in containing a fire threateninga rural community west of KwaMbonambi in KwaZulu-Natal.

Two fires — one in the Kaapse Hoop area and another in White River,Mpumalanga — were burning out of control, said Charlton.

A fire at Berlin, in the Eastern Cape, had destroyed an estimated 500ha andwas out of control at 8pm on Sunday night.

Two fires near Piet Retief in Mpumalanga came together and were still burningout of control. In Zululand, a fire south of Richards Bay was developing into alarge fire and was also burning out of control.

The extreme weather conditions were expected to continue on Monday in Limpopo,Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal with high temperatures, wind and the very drycondition of the veld conducive to runaway veld fires, Charlton said.


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