Western Cape gearing up to meet summer fire threat

by CapeNature

The 2017/2018 fire season is expected to be one of the worst in recent memory with hot, dry and windy conditions expected across the province already impacted by a severe drought. Local Government and Environmental Affairs Minister Anton Bredell issued the following appeal, “We are concerned about this season and we implore the public to work with us to reduce fire risk and report fires speedily when they are observed. Please do not throw out cigarette butts or make open fires outside when the wind is blowing.”

This season, the Provincial Disaster Management Centre will co-ordinate the rapid deployment of aircraft and helicopters, municipal and seasonal firefighters, as well as Working on Fire (WoF) teams and two specialized interagency wildland firefighting crews.
Critical partners with CapeNature in the Provincial wildlife programme include local Government, the City of Cape Town’s Fire Service, district municipality fire services, SANParks, WoF, volunteer firefighters and fire protection associations.

Western Cape firefighting teams displayed their operational readiness at the launch of the 2017 wildfire preparedness programme at Vergelegen Estate in Somerset West on Friday, 1 December.

Gail Cleaver-Christie, Cape Nature Executive Director: Conservation Management shared disturbing research which indicated that more than 80 percent of the fires that CapeNature has combated are started by people. She commented on the sad fact of wildfire in the Western Cape during summer that “It is largely due to people’s negligence.

CapeNature has prepared for this fire season on many different levels; staff at the reserves have been fully trained and will be on standby throughout the season, including nine Working on Fire (WoF) teams based at CapeNature reserves to be deployed for any eventuality.

Minister Bredell commentated that “We can all make a difference in reducing human-caused fired during this season of high fire danger. Remember, fire is everyone’s fight.” He also urged the public not to distribute unverified reports of arson and fire but to report any concerns to the nearest police station. The emergency toll free number to dial in the event of a fire; free from any cellphone, is 112.

When reporting fires, the public can also contact the closest Local District Municipality

  • City of Cape Town: 021 480 7700 from a cellphone
  • Overberg: 028 425 1690
  • West Coast: 022 433 8700
  • Eden: 044 805 5071
  • Central Karoo: 023 414 2603
  • Cape Winelands: 021 887 4446



One Comment

  • Mrs R.D. Geyer

    December 23, 2017 12:19 pm

    Informative and interesting article.
    As the cause of these fires is largely due to human neglect, a serious fire-awareness programme should be run at all schools


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