MBOMBELA – Working on Fire (WoF) has for the past couple of weeks been hard at work preparing for this year’s fire season.
The fire season starts around the month of June.
Around 600 participants in Mpumalanga successfully concluded their yellow-card training. This recently took place at camps, which aimed to assess the physical fitness of firefighters, ensuring they are ready to be deployed to the fire line.
“Our firefighters are professionally trained to suppress veld and forest fires and will be deployed throughout the province to reduce the personal and economic harm caused by unwanted wildfires,” said WoF provincial spokesman, Lebogang Maseko.
“As we are expecting a difficult fire season, we have strengthened our partnerships with Provincial Disaster Management Centre, fire protection associations, various private and public landowners and local municipalities, to intensify our response to fires and in rendering a highly skilled veld fire suppression service which is unparalleled anywhere in the country,” she said.
“Though the danger index is low at this stage, it can rapidly change in wintertime in the absence of rain, so preparations are essential,” said André Scheepers of the Lowveld and Escarpment Fire Protection Association (Lefpa). He added that now is a good time to start preparing. According to him, one should start checking that all equipment is in working condition, prepare roads bordering open areas and firebreaks that will be burned, match one’s resourcing to the fire risks identified, obtain rosters from the neighbour and train employees in fire management.
Scheepers further recommends you:
• Obtain operating procedures related to high fire danger index
• Implementing operational procedures to ensure quick response, should an emergency arise
• Check water points for adequate supply
• Attend FPA meetings regularly.
Next month is the time to commence firebreak burning, including those around homesteads. However, Lefpa warns to take extreme care when burning slash. It is also very important to burn areas on a rotational programme.