Western Cape allocates over R10 million for fire season

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The Western Cape government has budgeted over R10 million for the coming fire season in the province. Over the winter, the province experienced record-breaking rainfall which had a major impact on infrastructure, which could hamper firefighting efforts.

More than 2 300 firefighters are expecting a challenging summer.

The Western Cape fire season has started, and readiness is in place. Authorities are expecting a busy fire season as predictions of fire are favourable, hot, dry and windy weather conditions approach.

Provincial Minister of Local Government and Environmental Affairs, Anton Bredell, says they have worked hard to prepare for any eventualities ahead of the summer.

Bredell says aerial and ground support tenders are in place for this season.  “The crew out there are ready; they have used what has happened in the past. They have got the right training and the right resources to back them. We have got this year on standby four helicopters, another four on standby, water bombers and 2 300 men and women as ground crew that will work with us and our partners, we cannot do this without them. So, we are quite comfortable that we have got the skillset, the equipment as well as the training behind us to back any eventuality that comes our way.”

The Working on Fire (WOF) team is integral to planning for the season ahead. 860 of its personnel assisted in the devastating fires in Canada, which was the worst on record for the country. Wildfires across the world raged with an intensity and destructive force never seen before.

WOF Managing Director, Trevor Abrahams says the organisation will be part of numerous groupings assisting the province.

“Agri SA reported that 400 000 hectares of grazing land was destroyed, a billion rand worth of cattle lost so you know although it hasn’t been in the media we’ve had a terrible fire season already and we only know in November. So we still have to go up till December to call the year. So, already we’re at 1.9-million hectares that have been lost where we’ve attended, we’ve attended more than 2100 fires to date and it’s likely to be the worst in 8 years when this year comes to an end.”

97% of all wildfires are caused by human activity. The public is urged to be extremely cautious when handling, making or working with open flames.