Fires HAVE blazed through parts of Swaziland and eastern SA since two weeks ago, destroying crops and plantations and killing over 20 people and thousands of cattle. The Swazi government declared a national emergency in June this year. “Fires have broken out in all four regions of the country, and high winds have been spreading the fires since the weekend,” said William Dlamini, spokesperson for Swaziland’s Fire and Emergency Services, on 6 August. S outh Africa’s eastern provinces of KZN and Mpumalanga and most of Swaziland have been extremely dry for months. According to Dlamini, the winter months of May to October, which are usually very dry, had seen no rain since early June.
According to South Africa’s Water Affairs and Forestry minister Lindiwe Hendricks, 90% of the wildfires that were blazing countrywide were caused by human actions. Meanwhile, the South African government’s Working on Fire (WoF) programme deployed 23 firefighting aircraft and 480 firefighters in Mpumalanga to fight the four fires that were out of control, and to clean up after those that have been controlled. further 72 WoF firefighters travelled from the Western Cape to supplement the assistance of teams drawn from Free State and Gauteng. – BuaNews-NNN At the time of going to print, all the fires in Mpumalanga had been extinguished.