‘… we look to the com­mu­nity to be more vig­i­lant dur­ing this fire sea­son …’

Farmer's Weekly (South Africa) - - Weekly News Wrap -

– Pro­vin­cial com­mu­ni­ca­tions of­fi­cer at Work­ing on Fire, Lau­ren Howard, com­ment­ing on the in­crease in the num­ber of wild­fires the or­gan­i­sa­tion had wit­nessed in the South­ern Cape re­gion dur­ing Oc­to­ber/Novem­ber this year

The Western Cape’s fire sea­son has al­ready started in parts of the Gar­den Route, with sev­eral sig­nif­i­cant blazes re­ported so far this year.

Ac­cord­ing to Lau­ren Howard, pro­vin­cial com­mu­ni­ca­tions of­fi­cer at Work­ing on Fire (WoF), the or­gan­i­sa­tion had wit­nessed an in­crease in the num­ber of wild­fires in the South­ern Cape re­gion com­pared with the qui­eter sea­son ex­pe­ri­enced dur­ing Oc­to­ber/Novem­ber last year.

Howard said it was ex­pected that this year’s fire sea­son would be longer and more ac­tive than nor­mal, due to chal­leng­ing weather con­di­tions. “Warm and dry con­di­tions, cou­pled with sum­mer winds, cre­ate the per­fect con­di­tions for run­away veld fires,” she ex­plained.

Fol­low­ing the re­cent dev­as­tat­ing fires in the area, all con­trolled burn­ing of land along the Gar­den Route had been pro­hib­ited as a safety pre­cau­tion. The Gar­den Route Dis­trict Mu­nic­i­pal­ity is­sued a state­ment stat­ing that any con­trolled burns and fire­breaks could only be car­ried out by the fire con­trol au­thor­i­ties, and that every­one needed to ad­here to th­ese pre­cau­tion­ary mea­sures un­til fur­ther no­tice. Howard added that any­one who wanted to start a con­trolled fire would have to ap­ply for a per­mit at their lo­cal mu­nic­i­pal­ity.

“While WoF is do­ing ev­ery­thing it can to pre­pare for the com­ing fire sea­son, we look to the com­mu­nity to be more vig­i­lant dur­ing this fire sea­son and not to start un­nec­es­sary fires, par­tic­u­larly on dry days,” said Howard.

She re­quested farm­ers and other com­mu­nity mem­bers to re­move un­nec­es­sary rub­ble from their prop­er­ties, as this could pose a se­ri­ous fire risk.

Own­ers of res­i­den­tial homes sit­u­ated ad­ja­cent to grass­land ar­eas also needed to en­sure that there were suf­fi­cient fire­breaks be­tween their prop­er­ties and th­ese grass­lands. – Je­an­dré van der Walt

Work­ing on Fire

ABOVE:It is ex­pected that there will be an early start to the fire sea­son in the Western Cape this year, as se­vere blazes have al­ready caused se­ri­ous dam­age along the Gar­den Route.

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