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