Runaway Fire Damages Property
(from the Midrand Reporter)

“It is unbelievably distressing that there is such carelessness with fire,” said Nusia Dyk of the conflagration that spread across almost half her property on 12 August. The blaze destroyed much of the grazing on Dyk’s plot, and razed three unused stables.daniella23fire

The fire spread to Dyk’s property after another resident lost control over the burning of garden refuse on a nearby plot. Fortunately, the flames were stopped short of Dyk’s thatched-roof house by the efforts of Dyk, her neighbours and firefighters, and no other properties were affected.

The area has been similarly endangered in previous years, with a larger fire occurring on 23 July 2012 due to burning of garden refuse. In the dry winter months, such fires spread with frightening speed, even when grass is cut short and raked away by landowners such as Dyk. The flames present a threat to the many species of wildlife including deer, hares, jackal and water fowl.

Mandy Collins, of the Greater Kyalami Conservancy, commented that such incidents were a common occurrence, and stressed the importance of awareness about the dangers of fire.

“It is illegal to burn waste or garden refuse,” Collins added. “It’s easier to make compost, and there are people available to help you do that.”

One such facility is the municipal dump near Dyk’s property, on the corner of Main and Cedar roads, which caters specifically for garden refuse. Dyk urges residents of the area to make use of the facility, rather than endangering their own and others’ properties.

Dyk wants to use her experiences to appeal to landowners to be responsible. Caution is especially necessary during the high-risk fire season that lasts from 1 August to 31 October every year. During these months, a no-smoke or burning period is implemented, and landowners are urged to comply, preventing such accidents from turning into disasters.

read on Midrand Reporter