Free State farmers lose over R2mln worth live stock in veld fires

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Farmers in the Free State have lost over R2 million worth of live stock due to veld fires.

The fire started on Sunday in Hertzogville allegedly by violent protestors and spread to the Nothern Cape province. Authorities say weather conditions in the province are likely to reignite the fire.

About 50 000 hectares of land has been burnt, some farmers have lost live stock and others are left with no grazing for their live stock. Infrastructure has also been destroyed.

Farm worker Mokhethi Lefu say its been difficult to contain the blaze.

“The blaze was too much, we’ve been working hard to contain it. When we thought we were done the fire would start somewhere else. And it has left serious damage,” says Lefu.

Free State Agriculture MEC William Bulwane says they will give the necessary support to affected farmers.

“We are here to check the damage and see what is it that we can do. Work with the operation centre and the team that has been sent to tell us what damage has been caused. We are definitely going  to help as government. Before the matter is declared as disaster there are reports that are suppose to be sent,” says Bulwane.

Fire fighters have created a fire line that stretches over 100 kilometres.

Free State Umbrella Fire Protection Association General Manager, Johann Breytenbach, says they remain on high alert.

“We are dealing with continuation of extreme fire weather that is still predicted to continue. Basically what it means is that it’s going to be very hot the wind is gonna continue to blow from various directions and it’s going to remain dry, that is part of the challenge which means even though there might not be flames that people see,” says

A disaster relief fund for the affected areas is yet to be determined. Meanwhile, investigations have also been launched.