Veld fires in the North West province continue to wreak havoc, prompting a coordinated response from firefighting teams. Yesterday, Potchefstroom received vital reinforcements, including two helicopters, two spotter planes, and two aerial support vehicles, to aid in tackling the ongoing blazes.
Over the past 24 hours, the province has witnessed multiple veld fires, leading to a critical situation for firefighters. The fire danger index remains in the red zone, necessitating urgent action.
The dispatched aerial resources have come from KwaZulu-Natal and Mbombela in Mpumalanga. Eric Stoch, chairperson of the North West Umbrella Fire Protection Association (NWUFPA), confirmed that the helicopters and spotter planes will be stationed in Potchefstroom. This strategic location enables swift assistance within the North West province and the northern parts of the Northern Cape.
Pilanesberg National Park is grappling with a wildfire, prompting NWUFPA to mobilise an aerial support team. The team, comprising a chopper, spotter, aerial support vehicle, and crew, collaborated with an incident command team. Departing from Potchefstroom at first light, they are working diligently to combat the blaze.
During these efforts, a significant wildfire erupted near the R53 (Ventersdorp road) army camp on Saturday. Firefighters battled the blaze from 10:00 until late evening. The Potchefstroom Fire Protection Association chairperson, Dr Kobus Roux, recounted a heroic effort to rescue cattle and goats fleeing the flames.
Around 150 cattle were grazing in the area, and some firefighters and individuals braved the fire to save them. A muddy water hole proved instrumental as the animals and rescuers sought refuge. Roux emphasised that grace played a role in preventing loss of life and harm to livestock.
The situation remains dynamic as firefighting teams, equipped with aerial support, strive to contain the fires and protect both lives and livelihoods.
Picture: X / ejstoch
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