South Africa — Runaway veld fires in the Free State have claimed the life of a second farmer. Sixty-four-year old Koos du Toit also sustained serious injuries in a veld fire two months ago at Soutpan, near Bloemfontein.
His death brings the number of people who have died so far this year due to veld fires in the Free State to four. More than 430 000 hectares of grazing land has burnt down in September and October.
Last week the Working on Fire organisation in Mpumalanga said it has assisted in fighting 330 fires during the fire danger season which starts on June 1 and ends on October 31. Jackie van Wyk of Working on Fire said in the greater Nelspruit area, which includes the Nkomazi area, there were 159 fires.
She said 104 fire incidents were reported in the Piet Retief area and 68 in the Warburton area. Van Wyk said Working on Fire assisted in fighting fires on more than 13 000 hectares in Mpumalanga.
According to Van Wyk, the financial losses during these fires were still being calculated by the various forestry companies and land owners throughout the province.