SA prepares for fire season

Landowners in the central provinces need to burn firebreaks before the end of July in preparation for the wildfire high season of August, September and October.

- Advertisement -

Working on Fire’s ground operations manager for the Free State and Northern Cape, Willem van Aswegen, said that breaks should be burnt by the end of July. August, September and October are the dry, windy months with high fire risk. “Landowners need permission from their local fire protection associations to burn breaks after the 31 July deadline.”

Van Aswegen said that Working on Fire was prepared for the fire season. “There are 16 fire teams in the Free Sate, three have been deployed in the Northern Cape with another three planned for later in the year. There are 12 teams in North West with another five planned for this season,” he said. Vice-chairperson of the Free State’s Wild Fire Association, Tinus Steenkamp, said a number of small fires had occurred in the eastern Free State.

The fires were mainly caused by fire breaks getting away during burning or by careless handling of fires in rural homesteads. He said firebreaks should be burnt around farm staff quarters. Relatively few wild fires have occurred in North West. Cor Janse van Vuuren, president of Agri North West, said, “We had much success with billboards along the N12 encouraging motorists to report wild fires. We recently prevented a potentially devastating fire in Hartbeesfontein after motorists phoned in.”

- Advertisement -

Wild fires have burnt 1 222ha in North West and 727ha in the Free State, according to Working on Fire statistics. Only 72ha have been reported as burnt in the Northern Cape.