Massive damage after ongoing Eastern Cape blaze

The Joe Gqabi district municipality has entered its fifth day still engulfed in flames after the blaze gutted more than 40 000 hectares of land since Sunday.

The fire continues to flare up which requires constant monitoring as most of the flare-ups are due to underground roots burning.

Barkly East Fire Protection Association said the fires which started on Sunday in the Lady Grey area spread south over the Witteberg Mountain towards Barkly East. By lunchtime the fire had been contained and was under control.

The area was in the fire danger index has been in red which is the most dangerous band  as a result of very dry and windy conditions.

Over 40 000 hectares have been burnt in the last week, affecting at least 24 farms of which approximately 12 are totally burnt resulting in no grazing land.

No buildings were affected in the fire but an economic loss is currently at R6.4-million if the area were to receive decent rains.

SA Weather Service spokesman Garth Sampson said it seemed unlikely that the affected area would receive any rainfall over the weekend.

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