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29 August 2011

Interim 2011 Veld-Fire Report: Dept. Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries

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Po Box 528, BLOEMFONTEIN, 9300
Sanlam Plaza Building, c/o Maitland & East Burger Streets, Bloemfontein
Tel.051 405 9000 x 2327, Fax.: 051 405 9220. Cel 082 808 2735, E-mail:
procterm@dwaf.gov.za

Veld Fires 2011
The total burnt to date in the FREE STATE (as far as can be ascertained) is 117 943 Ha in 223 Fires, this is substantially down on last years total of 474 265 ha the decrease can be attributed to late rains, deep snow falls and better levels of compliance in certain areas.



A comparison with the 2010 Figures shows that at this time last year 82251 ha had burnt
The 2011 Figures for the same period this year show 120 286 ha has burnt.
In 2010 we burnt 202 266 ha in September and 183 047 ha in October
The Weather Forecast as supplied by SA WEATHER SERVICES predicts above normal Temperatures and below normal rainfall for the Remainder of the year.


The area affected the most by veld fires in 2011 is the North Central Free State comprising the local municipalities of Moqhaka and Ngwathe as well as the South western Free State Mohakare Local Municipality. The areas that burnt the most are areas where the level of compliance in terms of the Veld Fire act.

46 Fires originated from state property

Of these:
25 fires that originated from Municipal property burnt 34439 ha
18 fires that allegedly originated on ESCOM Property burnt bunt 8078 ha
7 Fires that originated from roads burnt 2141 ha
One state owned resort “Jim Fouche” in the Northern Free State was severely damaged by fire  

30 Fires on Tuesday the 23rd of September (Red Day) destroyed 62044 ha

Fatalities and Injuries
2 people were killed in a car accident and a labourer in the veld in a 22 000 ha fire on the 23rd of August in the Ngwathe local municipality that allegedly originated from a municipal rubbish dump sight in Ngwathe, 5 people were apparently also injured in the same accident in this fire. 2 other fires also allegedly from municipal rubbish dump sites in Ngwathe destroyed a further 8 000 ha on the same day.

2 People were injured in a shack fire on a farm in the Bethlehem district on the 11th of August their current status is unknown 
Structural damage
2 houses on the outskirts of Bloemfontein in a veld Fire
1 House in a fire Ngwathe
8 sheds containing implements were destroyed (one in Bloemfontein)
1 Tractor, one truck and a boat were burnt out.

Stock losses (available Figures only)
600 Sheep, 34 Head of cattle and 12 Ostriches



Weather Conditions[1]
The north and eastern parts received above normal rainfall late into the winter season causing many areas to be damp thus increasing the moisture content and reducing the likelihood of veld fires. Snowfalls were reported in the eastern parts of the province and Thabo Mofutsanyana District was the most affected. Warden received more than 1.5 Metres of Snow. This has affected maize harvesting, soil preparation for winter wheat and the extreme coldness has affected small stock. In general livestock and veld conditions are average.
The eastern and southern parts of the country as well as some areas of the Northern Cape received above normal rainfall in July but below normal over the rest of the country.

Rainfall Forecast (September 2011 to January 2012)
September-October-November
Enhanced probabilities for below-normal rainfall totals are expected for parts of North-West, Mpumalanga, Northern Cape, Free State and KwaZulu-Natal.
October-November-December
Enhanced probabilities for below-normal rainfall totals are expected for parts of Limpopo, North-West, Mpumalanga, Northern Cape, Free State, KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape.
November-December-January
Enhanced probabilities for above-normal rainfall totals are expected for parts of Limpopo and Mpumalanga. Enhanced probabilities for below-normal rainfall totals are expected for most parts of South Africa.

In summation, for the beginning of summer, most summer rainfall areas are expected to receive below normal rainfall except Limpopo and Eastern Cape where above normal rainfall is likely. The below normal rainfall trend is anticipated to persist into mid summer.

Maximum Temperature Forecast (September 2011 to January 2012)
September-October-November
Enhanced probabilities for below-normal maximum temperatures expected for parts of Limpopo, North-West and Free State.
October-November-December
Enhanced probabilities for above-normal maximum temperatures expected for parts of North-West, Mpumalanga, Northern Cape, Free State, KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape and Western Cape.
November-December-January
Enhanced probabilities of below-normal maximum temperatures expected for parts of Limpopo, North-West, Gauteng, Mpumalanga, Northern Cape, Free State and Eastern Cape.

M Procter
DD Forest and Veld Fire Oversight
DAFF Bloemfontein




[1] Institute For Soil, Climate And Water , iscwinfo@arc.agric.za , http://www.arc.agric.za


SAWDIS - The following post refer -

Veld fires are a persistent problem in South Africa

The SAWDIS would like to thank Mike Procter who on behalf of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries made this very educational interim veld-fire report available to the SAWDIS and general public for perusal.  Through this report the public now have access to first hand information on veld-fires in South Africa.  Highly appreciated Mike and keep up the good work!!!