Mpumalanga on high alert as fires ravage plantations

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Mbombela - Five forest fires have raged through the plantations around the Sabie area in Mpumalanga this week.

The Mpumalanga Disaster Management Centre in Mbombela has been on high alert after strong winds, extreme cold and fires swept through the province between Monday and Wednesday.

"There were seven big fires recorded - five were in the Lowveld along the Long Tom pass and the other two were on the highveld," said Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs spokesman Simphiwe Kunene on Thursday.

"All the fires are contained but people must be on the lookout for fires and report them."

According to Kunene eight Working on Fire aeroplanes and two teams worked together to put out the fires.

Meanwhile, 21 aircrafts and 15 teams remain on high alert.

"The damages experienced are restricted to forestry and there are no structural losses, injuries or fatalities reported," said Kunene.

He could not as yet say what the extent of the damage was.

The provincial government has instructed all municipalities to be on full alert and standby for any possible fires.

"Residents must report any fires as quick as possible to their closest fire brigade in their respective municipalities," said Kunene.

On Thursday, no warnings of strong winds were issued for Mpumalanga.