Anton Bredell, Western Cape Minister of Local Government, Environmental affairs and Development Planning today thanked all the firefighters and firefighting entities who worked together to put out the Kleinmond fire after 4 days of extensive and coordinated firefighting.
Bredell said: “I want to thank our brave firefighters and the many other officials across these entities for their cooperation and effort under difficult conditions. With wildfire management, coordinated support is essential for success.”
The effort involved the following firefighting entities:
- The Provincial Disaster Management Centre
- The City of Cape Town
- The Overberg District Municipality
- The Overstrand Municipality
- Volunteer wildfire services
- The Department of Health (Emergency Medical Services)
- Working on Fire
- Overberg Wildfire Volunteers
- Greater Overberg Fire Protection Association
Bredell said in the end, more than 5400ha of fynbos and pine plantations were burned, one building was destroyed and preliminary agricultural damages include 10ha of commercial fynbos. Mopping up and monitoring will continue for the next few weeks as some areas of dense alien vegetation will continue to smolder.
“We are now investigating the cause of the fire and will do an estimate of the total damages and costs accrued during the operation. We were extremely fortunate this time that no human life was lost, which is always the number one priority during these operations,” Bredell said.
Bredell said the number one cause of wildfires are human actions, and as such, he urges people to be responsible and careful when dealing with fires. “It would be sad to know that all the resources, time, money and risk to personnel, as well as the destruction of thousands of hectares of land could have been prevented through different human behavior,” he said.
Bredell said the Province has several initiatives aimed at creating awareness and influencing behavior regarding fire safety, as prevention is always the cheaper option.
Proactive measures from the Western Cape Government includes a public awareness programme which CapeNature runs on several media platforms each year to inform the public on fire prevention and management, but also the importance of rapid reporting of fires.
The Provincial Disaster Management Centre runs several initiatives which focus on proactive training and coordination between the various fire services.
The Department of Local Government currently runs a social media campaign which informs people on residential and veld fires.
The public can call 112 toll-free on any cell phone and request a free connection to the local fire services to report any possible veld fires.
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