The above average heat coupled with low humidity levels experienced over the western and southern parts of the Free State is causing a strong increase in the Fire Danger Index (FDI) throughout the Xhariep, Mangaung and Lejweleputswa districts.

The continued dry and hot weather has extended the fire season well beyond the anticipated duration in the area, with a definitive increase in fire activity over the last 21 days. The prevailing weather creates very dry and flammable veld conditions where the volatile veld ignites easily, flames spread rapidly, and fires reach high intensity within seconds. Combatting veldfires under these conditions is difficult and dangerous due to extreme fire behaviour. No open fires or flames are allowed in the veld while hot work like welding and grinding in grass must be avoided.

The Free State Fire Protection Association (FSUFPA) used data made available on the Advanced Fire Information System (AFIS) to compile the warning. FSUFPA wishes to remind the public that to start and maintain an open-air fire on a high fire danger rating day is a category one criminal offence, which carries a fine, imprisonment of two years, or both if found guilty.

To start or cause a fire to start by lighting a match or any other burning material, drop burning material, leave a fire unattended, make a fire in a road reserve, or cause a fire to start or to spread that causes damage or injury is a category two offence, which carries a fine or imprisonment of one year if found guilty.

For further enquiries, e-mail genman@fsufpa.co.za. – Press release