Durban — The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) has warned the public of veld fire-prone weather conditions across the province.
In a statement, Cogta spokesperson Siboniso Mngadi said the department is warning the public across the province, to avoid starting fires in open areas and not to leave fires unattended, this is in response to the impending extreme fire danger conditions expected in various parts of the province.
Mngadi said that according to the South African Weather Service (Saws) KwaZulu-Natal province will experience windy, dry, and hot conditions in different areas. The winds, as per Saws, could facilitate the rapid development and spread of fires.
“The public is strongly urged to avoid lighting fires in open areas or leaving them unattended. Additionally, refrain from disposing of cigarette butts from cars or in open fields, as well as from discarding bottles in the wilderness, as they can concentrate the sun’s rays and ignite fires,” Mngadi said.
“Fires during these conditions can pose significant threats, including reduced visibility on roads, property damage, harm to vegetation, air and water pollution, and the loss of both human and animal life.”
He said the advisory applies to communities within the following municipalities: Abaqulusi, Alfred Duma – Indaka, Alfred Duma – Ladysmith, Big Five Hlabisa – Hlabisa, Big Five Hlabisa – Hluhluwe, Dannhauser, Dr N Dlamini-Zuma – Underberg, eDumbe, eMadlangeni, Endumeni, Greater Kokstad, Impendle, Ingwe, Inkosi Langalibalele – Estcourt, Jozini, Mandeni, Maphumulo, Mpofana - Giants Castle, Mpofana – Mooi River, Msinga, Mthonjaneni, Mtubatuba, Newcastle, Nkandla, Nongoma, Nquthu, and Okhahlamba.
Mngadi added that Cogta has activated disaster management, particularly fire and rescue teams, to respond promptly to any potential incidents resulting from these weather conditions.
On Saturday afternoon, the Saws said that on Sunday, hot, dry and windy weather is expected over central and eastern SA causing high fire danger conditions once again. It will be very hot in places in KZN. Two cold fronts will cause cold, wet and windy weather in the west with snow.
🌞Sunday's (10 September 2023) #WeatherForecast— SA Weather Service (@SAWeatherServic) September 9, 2023
🔥Hot, dry and windy weather over central and eastern SA causing high fire danger conditions once again. It will be very hot in places in KZN.
🌧️2 cold fronts will cause cold, wet and windy weather in the west with snow. pic.twitter.com/1X4eF9UmO2
Saws weather forecaster Julius Mahlangu said that a cold front was approaching and currently affecting the Western Cape.
“In KwaZulu-Natal, we are experiencing a system known as a coastal low which is experienced ahead of a cold front. The system is expected to result in strong winds along the coast and hot and very hot conditions over the interior,” Mahlangu said.
“There is also an alert, an FDI, Fire Danger Index, which can result in veld fires.
“We advise people not to start any fires because these could spread rapidly,” Mahlangu explained.
He said that later and into the evening, the winds would die down in terms of speed.
He also said that at the King Shaka International Airport, they have seen wind speed at a high of 22 knots gusting up to 33 knots.
🔥Fire and🥶Ice weather weekend ahead!— SA Weather Service (@SAWeatherServic) September 8, 2023
☔️2 Cold fronts will make landfall over western SA (09-11 September 2023).
> Expect a significant drop in temperatures from Sunday
>Snow on the high-lying areas
>Strong winds and rough seas
>Hot, dry and windy weather over C and E SA pic.twitter.com/EXKsSH2Dvl
Mahlangu said that things are expected to change on Monday when the cold front passes through KZN.
“We are expecting a significant drop in temperature, rain, isolated to scattered showers in the afternoon. There is a possibility of snow in the western interior (Drakensberg) from tomorrow (Monday) evening into Tuesday morning,” Mahlangu said.
He added that on Monday afternoon and into the evening, the wind is expected to be strong again once the cold front passes.
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