JOHANNESBURG, South Africa — A six-year-old girl died in one of the forestfires that have hit four South African provinces, police said Monday.
Bonakele Ngema had sought shelter from the fire sweeping a nature reserve inthe eastern province of KwaZulu Natal, but the house was engulfed in flames,police spokesman Capt. Jabulani Mdletshe was quoted as telling the South AfricanPress Association.
Fires also were being fought in the northern province of Limpopo, thenortheastern province of Mpumalanga and the central province of Free State.
“The very high temperatures across the country and strong winds with lowhumidity are creating perfect conditions for fire,” spokeswoman ValCharlton of Working on Fire told SAPA. Working on Fire brings togethergovernment agencies and private wildlife groups to fight forest fires.
“With the exception of the Free State, all the fires are in forestedareas. There has been millions of rands [hundreds of thousands of dollars] worthof damage,” Charlton added.
South Africans were cautioned to avoid lighting fires and to ensure opencooking fires were not left unattended.
The KwaZulu fires destroyed nine houses and damaged sugar cane and tree farmsin KwaZulu, police spokesman Mdletshe said.
He said the fires were thought to have been started by people removing beesin the forest and severe lightning on Saturday morning. The fires were stillblazing out of control on Monday.