Teams battle fires in Barkly East area

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By Nthabiseng Mokone

Working on Fire in the Eastern Cape dispatched 50 fire fighters from its Tsomo, Ugie and Joe Gqabi teams to help suppress a fire that started last weekend at Ossa farm in the Lady Grey area.

This fire has burnt an estimated 26 000ha since it started, spreading to Barkly East and affecting 15 farms under the Joe Gqabi District municipality and leaving vegetation and crops on seven completely destroyed. No structures or livestock have been affected; however, livestock owners have been urged to remove their animals as the fire continues, with the winds up to 80km/h.

A Working on Fire chopper as well as one spotter have been assisting the firefighters, while other teams have been doing back burning.

Two other fires continue in Mtintloni, Elliot, where 13 WoF fire fighters from Elliot are assisting. About 30 WoF fire fighters from Langeni and Nqadu are fighting a fire in Singisi Forest, Langeni.

Working on Fire, a division of the Department of Environmental Affairs, has 5 000 fully trained wildland firefighters at 200 bases throughout South Africa who provide an essential wildland fire suppression service to landowners and municipalities across the country.

In the Eastern Cape, around 600 fire fighters are based at 26 operational centres.

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