3 killed in Harrismith veld fire

3 killed in Harrismith veld fire
19 September 2014

published by http://citizen.co.za

South Africa — Three people were killed in a veld fire near Harrismith in the Free State, Working on Fire (WoF) said on Friday.

It was believed they were a farmworker and two farmers, WoF national spokesman Linton Rensburg said.

Initially five people were thought to have died in the veld fire on Thursday. On Friday it however emerged that a woman and her one-month-old baby, who had been presumed dead, were found alive.

Provincial WoF spokeswoman Limakatso Khalianyane said the fire was still raging on Friday afternoon.

“By Friday afternoon about 400,000 hectares had been destroyed by the two fires that had started earlier in the week from different directions, met and then moved toward the KwaZulu-Natal border.”

It was believed the runaway fire may have started when a fire for burning rubbish got out of control.

Agriculture Minister Senzeni Zokwana visited the area on Friday.

“To all families who have lost their loved ones, farmers and farmworkers who have lost livelihoods and livestock, sustained injuries, lost houses and other infrastructure, we express our deepest condolences and sympathy,” he said in a statement.

He thanked firefighters for their bravery.

“We will continue to do all in our power to minimise further loss of life and damage to property and infrastructure.”

The extent of the fire damage was being assessed to facilitate emergency relief and interventions.

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