Extreme fire danger: F. State farmers on high alert

Fire danger: On 20 May, 7 000 sheep were left without grazing in the Free State after almost 30 000ha were destroyed during a runaway veld fire in the Boshof and Dealesville areas. Photo: Supplied/Food For Mzansi

On 20 May, 7 000 sheep were left without grazing in the Free State after almost 30 000ha were destroyed during a runaway veld fire in the Boshof and Dealesville areas. Photo: Supplied/Food For Mzansi

Free State farmers are urged to take every possible precautionary measure to avoid losing livestock and crops amidst a warning by the South African Weather Service of extremely high fire danger conditions and snow.

A fire danger warning has been issued for the western parts of the province. This comes as light snow is also expected over the southern parts of the Free State coupled with cold and windy weather.

Dr Jack Armour, commercial manager of Free State Agriculture. Photo: Supplied/FSA

“Right now, the fire danger is more of a priority, particularly for farmers along main routes,” says Jack Armour, operations manager at Free State Agriculture.

”Farmers must just take the necessary precautions and move livestock to where there is shelter and makes sure there is enough food and water.”

The fire warnings come after tragedy recently struck the province when a runaway veld fire swept through Boshof and Dealesville. This fire destroyed almost 30 000 hectares of land and left 7 000 sheep without pastures to graze. 

Precautionary measures

Meanwhile, Chris Jan van Tonder, a Free State livestock farmer, tells Food For Mzansi he has already taken precautionary measures.

“Many farmers, including myself, have already started burning their fields and hopefully that will stop us from being affected. The pre-fires, we usually do any time from March and April up until mid-July, which is the cutoff date,” he explains.

Van Tonder says while he may be somewhat protected, in the event that strong winds occur, he and other farmers in the province could find themselves in a tight spot.

ALSO READ: Free State farmers warned: Frost raises fire danger

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