Hertzogville and Hoopstad fires keep Free State busy

22 October, 2020

By Greer

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The Working on Fire (WOF) teams have had a busy 2020 Winter Fire season, with the Free State province hit the hardest.

Working on Fire Free State recorded a total of 585 fires at the end of September, and are currently battling massive fires in the Hertzogville and Hoopstad areas.

A total of 57 WOF firefighters, from the Free State and North West, are assisting the Mangaung Fire Protection Association and farmers in the area, in fire suppressing operations. 

At least 100 000ha have been burned, destroying farming land, properties, and livestock, among others. Mpumalanga’s Lowveld Escarpment Fire Protection Association (LEFPA), and Umphuluzi Fire Protection Association (UFPA) have offered aerial support, joining the Kishugu Aviation Working on Fire aerial support teams, dispatched from around the country, to provide aerial firefighting.

The fire is still ongoing, with the Working on Fire Molteno and Joe Gqabi teams, totaling 23 firefighters, from the Eastern Cape, on route to Free State, to assist in fire suppression operations.

According to the Managing Director of the Working on Fire Programme, Trevor Abrahams, the Incident Management team, consisting of a group of professional people from various departments, fire services, Working on Fire personnel, as well as the Mangaung Fire Protection Association, reported that the fire is currently under control and coordinated efforts are underway to ensure that the fire does not spread any further.

“We wish all the ground and aerial firefighters the best during this time and encourage members of the public to be safe, vigilant, and careful. Our thoughts are with you all,” Abrahams said.

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