Farmers in the Western Cape remain on high alert for veld fires that were threatening their agricultural crops. This after a fire that broke out in Gydo Pass just above Witzenberg Valley. The fire has, however, been contained, the Cape Winelands District Municipality’s Fire Services confirmed.
According to Agri Western Cape’s vice president Heini du Toit, no damages to property have been reported.
SANParks have also confirmed that the pilots of the four helicopters that were on site, have returned to base. Four NCC Wildfires crews remained on the scene to conduct mop-up operations throughout the evening to ensure flare-ups and hot spots are put out.
“The four ground teams will stay on the line and continue with monitoring and mopping up operations,” Du Toit said.
Watch out for flare-ups
Cape Winelands District Municipality spokesperson Jo-Anne Otto said the fire was raging between Monday and Tuesday afternoon on the top of a portion of the mountain. Due to wind direction, the fire was driven into an area with high fuel load and agricultural lands.
“The harvest season is well under way in the Witzenberg Valley, and all efforts will be made to protect agricultural lands,” Otto told News24.
The very hot temperatures, predicted to be in the region of 40ºC, is cause for concern as flare-ups are more likely in these conditions.
Currently the Western Cape is at the peak of its fire season which usually occurs during the dry and windy summer season, and leads to almost 17 000 and 20 000 fires every year.
This year alone the province has experienced fires in the mountains above Boontjieskraal Road outside Wolseley, fires in the mountain above the R46 between Wolseley and Ceres, and Touwsriver.
Sign up for Mzansi Today: Your daily take on the news and happenings from the agriculture value chain