WINDHOEK – A combined team of farmers and police officers in the Hardap Region managed to extinguish several veld fires last weekend.
The fires covered the area from /Huibes between Maltahöhe and Gibeon, and Hoachanas and Gochas, according to Hardap Regional Police Commander, Commissioner Kobus Meyer.
The veld fires raged for seven days since last week Monday, destroying large swathes of grazing at /Huibes, Uibis and Docheib, some 80 kilometres west of Mariental in the Gibeon Constituency.
Fire-fighters estimated that about 120 square kilometres of vegetation were destroyed. Meyer suspects that live cigarette butts or honey seekers who smoke out bees may have caused the fires. He emphasised that no signs of natural causes such as lightning could be detected. No human life or livestock has been lost.
Meyer said the fires raged over a large area across several southern towns and villages.
Meyer said prior to the start of the “veld fire season” people in those areas were sensitised about the potential of the impending danger and asked to take extra precautions when starting fires – however, he suspects the message fell on deaf ears.
“We told them to cordon off the fire to prevent the wind from blowing it [to other areas].”
At /Huibes, the police and farmers fought the fires for up to three days. “Most of the police force manpower helped to extinguish fires over the weekend,” added Meyer.
The commissioner said the police successfully evacuated a number of people at /Huibes who were surrounded by the raging fires.
The /Huibes conservancy covers 122 417 hectares of land and has a variety of wild animals such as kudus, leopards, oryx, ostriches, steenbok and jackals. - Additional reporting by Nampa