Veld fires rage in dry Nelson Mandela Metropole

Veld fires rage in dry Nelson Mandela Metropole

26 January 2007

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Auckland Park, South Africa — Lourens Schoeman, the Nelson Mandela Metropole spokesperson, says no less than 15 veld fires are burning in the Port Elizabeth areas. Schoeman says there could be more as reports of fires flaring up in different areas are coming in almost hourly. A fire engine that ventured too deep into the veld along William Moffet Expressway also caught fire. No casualties have been reported. The temperature in Port Elizabeth has risen to 33 degrees Celsius with humidity of 38%.

In neighbouring East London, the mercury has risen to 32 degrees Celsius with humidity at 43%. It expected that these conditions will ease when a south-westerly wind brings relief this afternoon. Meanwhile, a helicopter with a water bucket is on its way from Cape Town to Still Bay in the Southern Cape to help fight a raging veld fire that is threatening homes.

Gerhard Otto, a Fire Chief at George, says a house and a labourer’s cottage have already been gutted by the flames. He says a strong wind is making their attempts to contain the blaze difficult. Ground crew and an Oryx helicopter have been battling the flames since this morning. Otto says a helicopter is also being used at Uniondale in the Great Karoo, where veld fires are raging.

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