Fo­cus on wildfires

Knysna-Plett Herald - - Voorblad - – Sup­p­lied by Land­works

We’ve all been con­cen­tra­ting too much on the di­sas­trous as­pects of the Knys­na wildfires but the fact is that a hef­ty chunk of coura­ge­ous re­si­dents ac­tu­al­ly ma­na­ged to success­ful­ly sa­ve their ho­mes as well as tho­se of their neig­hbours. A free trai­ning ses­si­on on fi­re risk re­ducti­on will be con­ducted on 7 and 8 Sep­tem­ber.

Pe­op­le who lo­se their ho­me in a fi­re of­ten des­cri­be how hel­pless they felt as the fla­mes took o­ver their hou­se, le­a­ving them, their lo­ved on­es and of­ten their neig­hbours wit­hout shel­ter and their most pre­ci­ous pos­ses­si­ons bur­ned to as­hes.

This he­art­b­re­a­king sce­ne is com­mon in South A­fri­ca w­he­re un­wan­ted wildfires are a fact of li­fe. And the bad news from the we­at­her ex­perts is that un­wan­ted wildfires will hap­pen mo­re of­ten and fi­res will burn hot­ter as chan­ging we­at­her pat­terns ma­ke our en­vi­ron­ment hot­ter and drier.

But you don’t ha­ve to be a victim of an un­wan­ted fi­re. You and your neig­hbours ha­ve it in your po­wer to pro­tect your fa­mi­ly and your ho­me and to look af­ter the pe­op­le in your com­mu­ni­ty. As the mont­hs drag­ged on in the wa­ke of the Knys­na wildfires, an in­cre­a­sing a­mount of sto­ries sur­fa­ced a­bout how ma­ny ho­me­o­w­ners ac­tu­al­ly ma­na­ged to sa­ve their ho­mes by doing a few sim­ple t­hings.

Tips

Cle­an up your gar­den – or the a­rea sur­roun­ding your ho­me – by re­mo­ving de­ad bran­ches and le­a­ves and pi­les of wood that can ca­tch a­lig­ht a­way from your ho­me.

If you keep a pi­le of fi­re­wood, stack it well a­way from the hou­se.

Re­mo­ve tree bran­ches o­ver­han­ging your roof and the lo­wer bran­ches of trees and sh­rubs that can act as a “lad­der” up which fi­re can spre­ad.

A­void ha­ving trees and sh­rubs gro­wing c­lo­se to walls, win­dows and doors. Cle­an out your gut­ters.

Check your roof – ma­ke su­re t­he­re are no gaps w­he­re wind can blow em­bers in­to your ho­me.

The­se sim­ple, com­mon-sen­se me­a­su­res that don’t cost any mo­ney at all will set you on the way to be­co­ming bet­ter pro­tected from fi­re du­ring the long, hot, dry sum­mer se­a­son a­he­ad.

May­be whi­le you are ma­king your­self mo­re a­wa­re, you will al­so see ot­her t­hings you can do to re­du­ce the risk of fi­re, not on­ly on your pro­per­ty but in your neig­hbour­hood, and be­fo­re long you and your com­mu­ni­ty will no lon­ger be vul­ne­ra­ble to wild­fi­re.

Free ses­si­ons

On F­ri­day and Sa­tur­day 7 and 8 Sep­tem­ber, Land­works will be hos­ting an in­for­ma­ti­on-sharing and free trai­ning ses­si­on re­specti­ve­ly at the Brenton com­mu­ni­ty hall. Con­tact Land­works pro­ject ma­na­ger for risk re­ducti­on, Tes­sa O­li­vier, on 021 712 5223 or 087 311 0452, or e­mail tes­sa.o­li­ver@ land­works­n­pc.com to book your pla­ce. Vi­sit land­works­n­pc.com for mo­re de­tails.

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