Working on Fire ready for winter fires

The Department of Environmental Affairs’ Working on Fire (WoF) programme has been hard at work during the last few weeks as its firefighters were busy preparing for the 2018 winter fire season which starts around June.

Ms Lebogang Maseko, WoF provincial spokesperson said as a result of the ongoing drought experienced throughout the country, WoF is expecting a difficult fire season. “Our firefighters are professionally trained to suppress veld and forest fires and will be deployed throughout the province to reduce the personal and economic harm caused by unwanted wildfires,” said Maseko.

WoF has strengthened partnerships with Provincial Disaster Management Centres, Fire Protection Associations, various private and public landowners and local municipalities, to intensify responses to fires and in rendering a highly skilled veld fire suppression service which is unparalleled anywhere in the country.

A national deployment team which can be dispatched anywhere in the country to assist farmers and land owners with fires suppression efforts was also established.  In attempts to further prevent the devastating effects of fire, a Community Fire Awareness Campaign will be launched in May, with the objective of raising awareness of the risk of veld and forest fires and empower those at risk to take responsibility to reduce the risk and impact of fires in their communities.

“We ask that members of the community remove unnecessary rubble on their properties which can pose a serious fire risk and houses next to grasslands need to ensure that there is sufficient fire breaks between their properties and grasslands,” Maseko added.

The Working on Fire programme is now in its 15th year of existence after having been established in 2003 and firefighters have over the years been called out by conservation agencies, municipalities, landowners and fire authorities to attend to an average of 2 500 wildfires every year.

  AUTHOR
Mpumalanga News

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