South Africa — At least 20 people died in runaway brush fires fueled by strong winds in South Africa over the weekend.
More than 100 fires across the country burned 125,000 acres of land.
In KwaZulu-Natal province 13 people were killed and 25 others after being burned in fires that roared through the area. Elsewhere in the province, another three people were burned to death and five others hospitalized for burns after their shack caught fire in Eastern Cape.
In Mpumalanga province three people were killed by fires.
“This is almost typical weather for August-September with late winds and early spring. There are hot conditions but you still get cold fronts hitting the Cape,” South Africa Weather Service forecaster Evert Scholtz told Afrol News.
But although the windy conditions are common for this time of year, the large number of deadly fires in different parts of the country are not, says Percy Morokane from Johannesburg’s Emergency Services.
“This particular situation has never been experienced before. Reports are coming in from all over the country,” Morokane told BBC news.
Along with killing or injuring people, the blazes have also killed some livestock and destroyed some houses and residential shacks.
High winds have done more than fuel and spread the fires. In Johannesburg a 5-year-old girl was injured when high winds knocked a tree down.