Veld Fires: A Caution to the farmer

As the foliage on our Msasa trees bursts into colour I take a moment to remind myself how lucky I am to live in such a beautiful country. The countryside this time of year is so pretty. But, with the stunning new Msasa livery, come the dreaded August winds and with them, bush fires. These winds spread wildfire and endanger ourselves, our plants, crops and our livestock. The sky is hazy with the smoke of fires burning. Soot and smuts drift down all day long and the air smells acrid.

We need to be vigilant and maintain our firebreaks. On top of this, we really should not be burning: for the sake of our soil health, the carbon cycle needs leaves and grass to return to the soil. This plant matter in turn enriches the soil and replaces what we remove through commercial farming. Don’t waste this precious resource.

A farming friend shares this advice: “We are at the driest part of the year and are at our most vulnerable. Please ensure you have your fire breaks around your farm/plot or home. Ensure that it is cleared and maintained.

“If or when a fire does break out, please make sure all your staff and family are aware of the procedures. It is vital that you have the necessary fire fighting equipment and tools. The basics for this are: Knapsacks and Water bowsers. You can also make some fire beaters with branches or poles with hessian sack on the end. Please be alert and ensure you have mitigated all risks.” Good practical advice.

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