A REPORT ON THE RECENT FIRES IN MPUMALANGA &

KWAZULU-NATAL

  1. MPUMALANGA
  2. Forest Fire Association (FFA) and DWAF forester (Harry Manoko, Klaserie District Manager) were consulted to provide reports on the recent fires in Mpumalanga. FFA cited a confidentiality clause that they have with forestry companies, hence they are not allowed to disclose information, especially on financial losses.

    Below are the estimated damages recorded for Mpumalanga for the past two weeks

    (Until 29 August 2003):

    Note: Company names undisclosed

    Last week (18-22/08/03):

    Mac-Mac Fires 250 000ha burnt. Mainly farm areas and orchards. Substantial private forestry plantations burnt.

    1 x fatality occurred as a result of smoke from fires on the road.

    All fires are now under control.

    This week (24 29/08/03):

    1. Hebron (State Forest) Fire 100ha pine plantation lost. Fire contained but still burning at certain spots.

    Full report to be provided at a later stage.

    2. Injaka (State Forest) Fire 4 000ha. Fire contained. Saw Mill and a number of settlements damaged.

    Full report to be provided at a later stage.

    3. Marieskop/ Salique (State Forests) Fire 7 734ha commercial timber burnt. Over 20 cattle and unknown number of wild animals killed. Still burning and threatened SAAF radar station at some stages. Still burning. Indigenous forests still burning. About 4 734ha of indigenous forest burnt already.

    Aerial fire fighters and Disaster management staff deployed.

    Financial loss estimated at R14, 4 million

    Cause of fires unknown. Investigations to be instituted after fires are suppressed

    Kaapsehoop Fire 4,500,000ha. Mainly orchards and farm areas. Fire contained. 3 x residential structures destroyed.

     

    Kowynspass Fire 100ha burnt. Fires are now contained.

    Amterdam Fire 280ha private forestry plantation lost.

  3. KWAZULU-NATAL

Midlands and North Eastern Cape Fires

200ha timber burnt.

Grazing veld 10 000ha burnt.

9 x rural houses destroyed.

2 x fire fighters killed.

Vryheid Fires 1 480ha, farm and grazing areas burnt.

Zululand (from 19 August 2003 to date)-

Ndodulo 8 x houses destroyed. 500ha grazing and small gum plots burnt.

Eshowe 400ha cane burnt. 100ha grazing lost.

Entumeni 200ha cane lost, tree plots and grazing. 5 x houses burnt.

Nkandla 1 500ha grazing lost. More than 25 houses burnt.

Ekhuthuleni 1 500ha grazing burnt. More than 30 houses burnt.

Heatonville 1 000ha grazing. 5 x houses observed burnt.

Ntonjaneni - 40ha timber lost.

Umhlatuze river Valley 120ha commercial timber burnt.

Sikhulu - 50ha private timber plots burnt

Mfekaye 500ha grazing lost and 1 x house burnt.

Causes of fires:

Negligence and Arsonists caused most of the fires.

 

Present situation

The Directorate Forestry Regulation is in constant communication with the DWAF fire advisors and the Fire Protection Officers to get more information.

These people are presently busy fighting fires in some areas and it is therefore difficult to get conclusive reports e.g., we are still awaiting reports from the Free State Province.