WoF ready for fire

Working on Fire teams busy training for the 2016 Fire Season
Working on Fire teams busy training for the 2016 Fire Season

VAALWATER — ֫Matema Gwangwa, Provincial Communications Officer for Working on Fire in Limpopo, says they are ready for the fire season and that their team can handle situations coming their way.
“Working on Fire, which is our government programme to help fight veld and forest fires, has been hard at work during the last few months as its fire fighters were busy preparing for the 2016 winter fire season which will start on the 1st June 2016,” Gwangwa said.
The Yellow Card Training Camp has been completed in the Province and this was aimed at ensuring that the fire fighters are fit and ready to be able to be on active duty during this upcoming fire season. (Article appeared in the newspaper a few weeks ago about the Yellow Card Training Camp that was held in Vaalwater)
“Our Working on Fire fighters are professionally trained to suppress veld and forest fires and they have been deployed throughout the province to reduce the personal and economic harm caused by unwanted wildfires,” Gwangwa confirmed.
Just over 660 fire fighters stationed at 26 bases throughout Limpopo will be ready for the start of the winter fire season which could last up to the end of November 2016.
“As a result of the current drought experienced throughout the country we do expect a very difficult winter fire season but we firmly believe that through our partnerships with Provincial Disaster Management Centres’, Fire Protection Associations, SANParks, various private and public landowners and local municipalities, we will be able to respond quickly in rendering a highly skilled veldfire suppression service which is unparalleled anywhere in the country”, Gwangwa continued.
Working on Fire has also established a National Deployment team which can be dispatched to anywhere in the country to assist farmers and land owners with fires suppression efforts.
“We urge landowners in particular to get into contact with us so that we can assist with the development of clear integrated fire management services which includes amongst others, prescribed burning, fuel load reduction, community fire awareness, early detection and fire suppression plans,” said Gwangwa.
“We have also launched our Community Fire Awareness Campaigns throughout Limpopo in April 2016. These campaigns are aimed to teach communities how to be fire safe and to prevent unwanted veld and forest fires and to raise awareness of the risk of veld and forest fires and empower those at risk to take responsibility to reduce the risk and impact of fires in their communities. This fire awareness will run until Saturday 21 May.”
Working on Fire will do presentations that will highlight the dangers of fires and how to reduce fire risks in communities. The fire fighters will demonstrate how to construct fire breaks and do fuel reduction which help eliminates fire spread in case of a fire.
“We urge communities to be more vigilant during this fire season and not to start unnecessary fires particularly during dry days this winter. People are also asked to remove unnecessary rubble on their properties which can pose a serious fire risk and houses next to grasslands need to ensure that there is sufficient fire breaks between their properties and these grasslands.”
“We also ask people to cut down overhanging tree branches close to their properties and also to clean their gutters as the leaves that end up in these gutters also can pose a fire risk. People must also ensure that they have the contact details of their local fire authorities at hand should there be a fire emergency,” Gwangwa concluded.

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