An alert regarding severe weather has been issued by the Cape Town Weather Office from today, February 24, until tomorrow, February 25. Veld fire conditions are expected across the Western Cape, including the Central and Little Karoo and the Cape Winelands.

Long periods of little to no rain along with some wind can easily result in veld or bush fires. Flames are sparked and spread by the wind.

Not only is the nature at risk but humans are too. High temperatures and increasing humidity makes it difficult for people to cool down. Sweating, which cools the body down, cannot reduce body heat enough when temperatures exceed a certain threshold. In these instances, there is a real threat of hyperthermia.

In order to avoid these dangers, the Cape Town Weather Office has offered some advice.

To avoid fires: 

– Do not make fires in the open and do not leave fires unattended.

– Don’t throw cigarette butts out of cars.

– Don’t throw bottles in the veld as they can magnify the sun’s rays and start fires.

– Prepare and maintain fire breaks in controlled manner.

– In the case of a large fire, report it immediately and move away from the area to let the professionals deal with it.

– Never throw water onto a fire started by an electrical fault or fires started by oil or paraffin lamps. In this case, sand or a blanket should be used to smother the fire.

– Listen to the radio or TV for warnings and obey the instructions from disaster management officers.

To avoid hyperthermia:  

– Stay indoors in a cool room near a fan if possible.

– The old and infirm must take extra care to stay hydrated and cool.

– Avoid strenuous outdoor activity, playing excessive sport and hard labour.

– Dress in light weight clothes and drink plenty of liquids NOT alcohol.

– Listen to the radio or TV for warnings and obey the instructions from disaster management officers.

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