Ev­ery year the Western Cape braces it­self for pos­si­ble fires. The Cape Winelands District Mu­nic­i­pal­ity is at the fore­front of fire­fight­ing and has some valu­able tips on how to pro­tect your fam­ily and prop­erty against veld fires.

go! - - Vlaggie -

The Cape Winelands District Mu­nic­i­pal­ity (CWDM) fire ser­vices ex­tin­guish about 1 500 veld and wild­fires per year, in a 22 309 km² area. The fire sea­son runs from 1 Novem­ber to 30 April. Around 93 % of wild­fires are caused by hu­mans, and only a few are due to light­ning and an­i­mal ac­tiv­ity. How­ever, fight­ing fires is not the only task of the CWDM Di­vi­sion Fire Ser­vices. CWDM’s Di­vi­sion Fire Ser­vices to­gether with the Winelands Fire Pro­tec­tion As­so­ci­a­tion (FPA) help landown­ers pro­tect prop­erty and har­vests by pre­par­ing fire­breaks. Landown­ers in the CWDM can con­tact the FPA or the fire ser­vices to en­quire about these ser­vices. To deal with the de­mand, new fire­fight­ers are be­ing trained reg­u­larly, while ex­ist­ing fire­fight­ers go for fur­ther skills train­ing. There are cur­rently 60 full-time fire­fight­ers and 60 re­servists. The mu­nic­i­pal­ity works in part­ner­ship with CapeNa­ture, the FPA and five pri­vate teams. Not all fires are man­aged in the same way. The fire team de­cides what kind of ac­tion is re­quired de­pend­ing on the sit­u­a­tion. Some­times fire ser­vices will al­low part of a veld to burn so that it can re­plen­ish. Fires high up in die moun­tains are not al­ways ac­ces­si­ble and ground teams need to be flown in. The main pur­pose of the CWDM’s Di­vi­sion Fire Ser­vices is to pro­tect peo­ple, their prop­erty and the en­vi­ron­ment from veld fires. The pri­mary goal is to pre­vent fires and, when they do oc­cur, elim­i­nate loss of life and re­duce prop­erty loss. Our pre­pared­ness plan­ning for the 2018/19 veld fire sea­son in­cludes a veld fire risk as­sess­ment.

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