As torrential downpours throughout most of the country continue to bring welcome relief to a heatwave forecast just a week ago, veld fire warnings have been issued for parts of the Northern, Eastern and Western Cape from Friday.

The South African Weather Service (SAWS) warns that the interior of Namakwa, Cederberg, Breede Balley and Langeberg municipalities, as well as the Central and Little Karoo, need to be on high alert.

The warnings stretch as far as Somerset East in the Eastern Cape, as sunny, dry and hot weather is predicted.

SAWS has categorised the abovementioned parts of the country as ‘extremely dangerous’ on its fire danger index map.

Residents are urged to be extra careful when tossing cigarette butts and starting fires.

Winelands Fire Protection Association said that this was especially important for outdoor braai fires. Residents must ensure that all fires are properly put out, and rather dispose of cigarette butts in an ashtray than in a nearby bush or veld, as this can easily cause a runaway fire.

In extreme circumstances, ensure you and your family have an evacuation plan. Have contingency plans to make sure you are at as low a risk as possible for fire spreading into your property by keeping grass cut short, clearing trees, bushes and dry vegetation around your home, and clearing gutters of dead leaves.

Should a fire be visible in your property, fill buckets, baths and rubbish bins with water; seal any gaps between doors and floors using soaked towels or clothes; and remember, should you decide to stay indoors, ensure that your outdoor firefighting ‘equipment’, such as your hose pipe, is in the house with you.

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