South Africa 19.9.2013 06:25 pm

Run away fires hit Free State

Image courtesy Dylan McMullin/Freerangestock.com

Image courtesy Dylan McMullin/Freerangestock.com

A warning of extensive runaway fires in three parts of the Free State was issued by the province’s disaster management centre on Thursday.

Co-operative governance spokeswoman Sienne Bogatsu said the affected towns were Zastron, Rouxville, Ficksburg and Ladybrand. Sizeable fires had also been reported in Senekal, Rosendal and Petrus Steyn.

Bogatsu said a house was damaged by fire in Ladybrand, but that the flames had been extinguished. A joint operation centre (JOC) had been established to handle the situation.

“The national disaster management centre has been notified and aerial support solicited, though it may be difficult to fly the helicopter because of the strong winds currently blowing in the province,” she said.

Bogatsu said several provincial teams were on the ground to fight the fires. They included two teams from Bethlehem, and one each from Senekal, Clarens, Winburg and Clocolan.

Two teams were busy in Ficksburg and some of the smaller fires had been extinguished. Free State Working on Fire (WOF) spokesman Saayman Rossouw said five WOF teams were working on the fires in the Rosendal, Ficksburg and Fouriesburg region.

Another team was working on a fire in the Zastron area. Authorities closed the N6 between Rouxville, in the Free State, and Aliwal North, in the Eastern Cape, on Thursday afternoon because of veld fires.

Bogatsu said the situation was being monitored by the JOC. Dust carried by strong winds shrouded Bloemfontein in near darkness on Thursday afternoon.

Sapa

 

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