Firefighters on high alert as high temperatures and drought continues to fan runaway veldfires

10 January, 2016

Firefighters on high alert as high temperatures and drought continues to fan runaway veldfires

10 Jan,2016Fire Stories

Working on Fire, the National Department of Environmental Affairs’ programme to help fight veld and forest fires, has been hard at work during the past 2 months as its fire fighters were busy fighting multiple fires across the country.

Since December 2015 in the Western Cape alone, just under 800 fire fighters provided fire suppression services to fire authorities in battling more than 100 “intense” veld fires throughout the province.

The latest fires in the Cape Peninsula (Red Hill / Scarborough and De Waal Drive) and in the Overberg (Stanford and Baardskeerdersbos) as well as in Simonsberg and Houwhoek Pass, close to 400 fire fighters from Working on Fire are active in providing fire suppression services to local fire authorities. In addition, 8 helicopters and 4 fixed wing spotter planes and 4 fixed wing water bombers were active in these fires during the past few days.

We experienced 99 fires throughout the country during December 2015 with a total loss of 39 000 ha and fifty-two teams (1300 fire fighters) were active on these fires.

Our fire fighters continue to remain on high alert and a national deployment team of fire fighters are ready to be dispatched to Themba Maebela and Siyabonga Varasha the Western Cape and other hotspot areas throughout the country.

As a result of the cur rent drought experienced throughout the count r y coupled with high temperatures we have had unusual fire activities in the Free State province which experienced 35 fires during December 2015 and a loss of 23 000 ha. (In December 2014 the Free State had no fires).

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