MD Message October 2018

31 Oct,2018MD Message

It was with great sadness that we learned of the loss of Nico Heyns, one of our most experienced firefighting pilots, during firefighting operations in the Southern Cape on 23 October 2018. We in Working on Fire and Kishugu joined Nico’s family, friends and colleagues during a special celebration of his life on Sunday, 28 October 2018, on Nico’s farm in Gouna.

The function was attended by family members and stakeholder representatives, including Deputy Director-General Guy Preston of the Department of Environmental Affairs. Nico Heyns was a legendary pilot and much respected within the firefighting fraternity. He was not only one of the pilots who delivered heroic service during the Knysna fires of June 2017 but also made a telling contribution to suppressing the Cape St. Francis fires of January 2016. He was a hardworking and dedicated pilot who was totally committed to saving lives and protecting the environment and he will be sorely missed at Working on Fire. Hamba kakuhle Nico.

Firefighting operations in the Southern Cape

As you are reading this letter, we have just over 300 firefighters and management as well as pilots who are actively involved in fire suppression activities at multiple fires that have engulfed parts of the Southern Cape. We have also deployed firefighters from the Free State and the Eastern Cape to help in these efforts.

Regrettably, eight people died in the fires in the Karatara area and, on behalf of Working on Fire, we wish to extend our condolences to their families. Sixteen of our very own firefighters from the Farleigh Team also lost everything in the fire in the Karatara area and we appeal to the broader Working on Fire family to support them during these difficult times. More details will be made available on how to assist them. I wish all our firefighters all the best and urge them to always practice safety first on the fire line.