Eastern Cape: Fire, strong winds warning for Eastern Cape

BY TAI CHISHAKWE - AUGUST 18, 2014

The Eastern Cape Provincial Government on Monday warned residents of strong winds and veld fires.

"A high veld fire danger rating is expected in the north-western interior and along the coast in the Great Kei and Mnquma area," the provincial government said in a statement.

"These winds are sudden and can cause much damage."

The provincial government advised residents to stay indoors where possible and to stay away from windows facing the wind. Travellers have been warned of sudden cross-winds, especially between buildings, and fallen trees, power-lines, or flying debris.

"Small boats must stay away from the open sea and seek the shelter of a harbour, river estuary, or protected bay," the province government said.

"Parked aircraft should be pointed into the direction of the wind and secured. Listen to the radio or TV for warnings, and obey the instructions from disaster management officers."

The risk of veld fires was linked to prolonged periods of little or no rain, coupled with warm, dry winds.

"Veld or bush fires can easily be sparked and will spread rapidly in strong winds," the province said.

Residents were advised to not make fires in the open, leave fires unattended, and not to throw cigarette butts out of cars, or in the veld.

"Don’t throw bottles in the veld as they can magnify the sun’s rays and start fires," it said.

"Prepare and maintain fire breaks in [a] controlled manner."

Large fires should be reported to authorities.

"Never throw water onto a fire started by an electrical fault or fires started by oil or paraffin lamps. In this case, sand or a blanket should be used to smother the fire."