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Media Release: Fire in Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

25 September 2009

On 17 September 2009, the field guide at Grootkolk in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park reported a fire in the northern part of the park after heavy thunderstorms and dramatic lightning had occurred that night. There was also a report of a fire on the Botswana side of the park which their officials attended to at the same time.

According to SANParks officials, the fire was caused by lightning on both the South African and Botswana sides of the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park.

The fire was burning in a westerly direction towards the Namibian border. The Namibian farmers were immediately informed of the fire in order for them to be on stand-by. A well-graded fire break on the western boundary, as well as the quick response by the rangers, prevented the fire from spreading to Namibia. The rangers secured the Grootkolk and Gharargab Wilderness Camps and no tourists were in danger at any time. Strong northerly to southerly winds caused the fire to flare up again. The veld condition is fire-conducive as this area has not burnt recently.

The fire is still burning in a southerly and westerly direction. The rangers are currently monitoring the fire and will react according to the extent thereof.

SANParks policy in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park is not to interfere with a natural fire unless it endangers tourist facilities or has the potential to spread to the neighbouring farmers and communities.