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10 November 2011

Colesberg farmers assess fire damage

Bloemfontein - Farmers in the Colesberg district started calculating the damage done to their properties on Thursday after fighting a huge veld fire which burned over a 60km front at times.

Colesberg farmer union chairperson Clem Olivier said the fire was "relatively quiet" on Thursday morning, although it was still smouldering in many places.

A farm worker caught in the flames died of his injuries in the Manne Dipico-hospital in Colesberg on Tuesday night.

Three more people were injured. One farm worker was discharged on Tuesday. Another was still in a serious condition in hospital.

An injured farmer was also receiving treatment for burn wounds.

The fire affected around 20% of the district and damaged between 60 and 70 thousand hectares on 35 farms.

Olivier said the fire moved in the direction of Venterstad in the Eastern Cape.

He said questionnaires would be sent to farmers from Thursday to get an estimate of their damages.

"I know of only two incidents. In one a farmer has lost 650 sheep and in another incident between 300 and 400 sheep were lost."

Olivier said a lot of infrastructure such as fences, pipes and mangers had been destroyed.

He said that on many farms the fire stopped when it reached house walls, and that no farmhouses were destroyed.

Efforts had started to help the farms and farmers affected.

The local farming union had received promises of donations of feed for animals.

- SAPA/News24