Botswana — Ten ranches in the Western Sandvelds in the Central District have been destroyed by veld fires which are thought to have started around the Kodibeleng area last week Monday. The Central District Commissioner, Mrs Lorato Plaatje, said the fire destroyed grazing and communal areas which cover close to 310 000 hectors of land. Mrs Plaatje said 216 hectors of land has been destroyed in the Boteti, especially the Kedia area, as well as some cattle posts near Mabuo such as Korakora cattle post. She said Tshimoyapula and Majwanaadiptse were also affected by the veld fires including Manxotai and the Ratholo area. Furthermore, the district commissioner said that Kaka and Makoba in the Malatswai area also felt the wrath of the veld fires. However, she stated that currently fire extinguishing exercise that was ongoing in the affected areas had proved to be successful. She said that the fire has been controlled and except in the Western Sandveld area where a few patches of fire erupted from time to time. She went on to acknowledge the residents from Mmashoro, Moiyabana, Tshimyapula and Serowe including the 105 Botswana Defence Force personnel who helped control and stop the fire in some places. She added that a helicopter that was provided by the BDF for aerial survey of the veldfires had a major impact in locating fires for the purpose of distinguishing it. Mrs Plaatje commended the Department of Forestry and Range Resources for assisting in locating fires and determining if the fires had been distinguished with through satellite. Furthermore, the District Commissioner also acknowledged the Department of Wildlife and National Parks personnel and other institutions for helping to put out the fire. No deaths have been recorded.