Naankuse fire destroys thousands of hectares

16 November 2021 | Accidents

ELLANIE SMIT

WINDHOEK

Thousands of hectares were destroyed in the Khomas Region on Sunday, when a fire that started at the Naankuuse Lodge and Wildlife Centre spread to several farms.

Two houses at Naankuse Lodge were also burnt down.

It is estimated that at least 10 000 hectares of land were destroyed.

Royston Wright, one of the farmers who fought against the raging fire on Sunday, told Namibian Sun that it started at about 11:00 that morning.

He is part of the Nossob and Otjihase Fire Whatsapp group where alerts are sent out when there is a fire on one of the farms in the area. Naankuse is also part of this group.

According to Wright the fire started at Naankuuse that morning while renovation work was being done at an investor’s house. It is alleged that the sparks from an angle grinder, which is used to cut metal, ignited the thatched roof of the house.

Wright says two houses burnt down, and the fire then turned into a veldfire.

Fanned by wind

He said at Naankuse the veld burnt a little bit on the western side. However, because the wind was pushing the fire westwards, it jumped over to neighbouring farms.

On the farm Fransstein it is estimated that nearly 90% of the pasture was destroyed.

“They may have two cattle camps left in comparison to the 19 that they normally have.”

He said on another farm, Ongeama, about 30% of the pasture was destroyed while another farm north of Fransstein also burnt.

The fire spread further to the Neudamm Campus and experimental farm, where between 30% to 40% of the land was burnt.

Wright says the fire was finally brought under control between 01:00 and 02:00 on Sunday.

Namibian Sun was unable to get hold of the owners of Naankuse yesterday.

In a brief interview on Sunday afternoon, the Group CEO at Naankuse, Dr Rudi van Vuuren, described it as a terrible situation, adding that they were doing everything they could to bring the fire under control.

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