MEC Mohono warns NW residents against starting veld fires

The MEC also cautioned residents from throwing bottles in the veld as they can magnify the sun’s rays and start fires.

FILE: The warnings come after the department received several reports of fires in the province. Picture:pixabay.

JOHANNESBURG - North West Agriculture and Rural Development MEC Desbo Mohono has warned the public against burning vegetation during land preparation and disposing of cigarette stubs, matches and lighters where they can potentially cause a fire.

In a statement on Thursday, the department said accidents, deliberate acts of arson, burning of debris and fireworks were substantial causes of wildfires.

The MEC also cautioned residents from throwing bottles in the veld as they can magnify the sun’s rays and start fires.

“Veld/wildfires affect both rural and urban areas and have the potential to spread out of control, thus we request people to refrain from igniting fires in the presence of oxygen and fuel such as dry grass, brush or trees.”

Mohono urged parents to educate children about the dangers of playing with objects that may cause fire and ensure that these objects are kept out of reach at all times.

The warnings come after the department received several reports of fires in the province.

Arrive Alive has information on firebreaks and safety from fire in rural and farming areas, they said yearly, they experience the severe impact caused by uncontrolled fires.

"During the dry winter, veld fires spread quickly, destroying farms and crops and even result in loss of life".

Arrive Alive shares some guidelines on being prepared for a fire:

• Join a Fire Protection Association.

• Collaborate with others. It is important for farmers to work together and share ideas and solutions on how to tackle risk.

• Maintain Equipment. Faulty machinery can lead to veld fires if it is not checked and kept in good working order. It is essential for equipment to be in working order to protect employees, livestock and other assets in the event of a fire.

• Make certain exhaust systems including manifolds, mufflers and turbochargers, are free of leaks and in good working order.

• Replace worn electrical components, bearings, belts or chains.

• Provide adequate emergency vehicle access and water supply.

• Create a veld fire plan, covering the eventualities of both staying and defending property or leaving it ahead of the veld fire.

• Train workers and staff in firefighting techniques, how to deal with fire problems and safety standards for smoking, burning rubbish, etc.

• Stress the importance of everyday maintenance and housekeeping in preventing fire.

• Install, inspect and maintain appropriate warning and extinguishing systems in residences, farm buildings, on tractors, combines and around mechanized equipment.

• This should include fire extinguishers, smoke alarms, fire alarms and, ideally in some locations and circumstances, sprinklers.

• Invest in your own well-maintained firefighting equipment (such as a petrol/diesel-powered water pump).

• Reduce fuel loads and avoid uncontrolled alien vegetation infestation on your land.

• Owners of thatched houses must take all necessary precautions such as installing drenchers, using fire blankets and having fire extinguishers to hand.

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