Free State roads reopened after veldfires wreaked havoc

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The Free State Umbrella Fire Protection Association says all roads that were closed due to fires in the province have been reopened.

The provincial government had earlier confirmed seven fire incidents in the province and had activated Working on Fire teams to assist with efforts to extinguish the fires.

Several roads were closed following due to poor visibility, which caused crashes.

Spokesperson of the association, Johann Breytenbach, says affected roads are now reopened.

“Currently, no roads are closed – all roads are open under current conditions. N1, N5, and N3 are currently open for traffic. We do not have any closed roads now at the moment.”

The provincial Agriculture and Rural Development Department had warned all farmers about the veldfires that were wreaking havoc in the province.

Farms along Windburg, Senekal, Marquad, Tweespruit, Ventersburg and along the N3 have been affected.

The N3, the N1 between the R30 and Ventersburg as well as the Verkeerdevlei tollgate were also affected and were closed.

Billions in farming losses

South African farmers have suffered about a billion rand in losses after fires devastated their crops, livestock and infrastructure in recent months.

Fires have spread in various parts of the country over the past two months with the Northern Cape, Free State and Limpopo being the worst-affected.

Agri SA CEO, Christo van der Rheede, says there needs to be good cooperation between national government, provincial government, municipalities and the farming sector to mitigate the crisis.

“Agri SA is therefore calling on the broader public to support the Agri SA disaster fund so that we can help farmers, farm workers and rural communities affected by these fires.”

Last month, the North West Umbrella Fire Protection Association had called for a provincial state of disaster after raging wildfires ravaged hundreds of thousands of hectares of land across the province.

Affected farmers are counting their losses after the fires destroyed vital grazing land, and killed scores of livestock.

GRAPHIC CONTENT WARNING | More details about the fires in the report below: 

-Additional reporting by SABC News