To burn or not to burn?

2014-05-07 00:00

THERE are many different opinions and even different laws governing various activities around fires and veld burning. In an attempt to share as many ideas as possible, the Dargle Conservancy hosted a morning of discussion recently in the grassland-covered hills above the mist-belt forest.

Farmers who have been in the area for years and new landowners were among those who attended. Bobby Hoole of the Lions River Fire Protection Agency led the discussions.

“I think days like this are important for all landowners to start understanding the use of fire as a management tool. Both big and small landowners need to co-exist within the broader fire-management planning for the area.

“Fire has been around for many years as a grass-management tool. However, with increased population densities and smaller properties, more control and better guidelines need to be put in place to ensure that correct management of our grassland resource is achieved,” Hoole said.

If you are going to burn a firebreak, you need to notify the local Fire Protection Agency (FPA). Failure to do so could result in a charge of negligence.

Many insurers are insisting that landowners join the local FPA before they will consider coverage. Have you?


— Midlands Conservancy Forum.

• IF you are not 100% sure of what is best, ask a couple of old-timers for their opinion before you strike the match.

• Don’t ask just one person, as you may have chosen the local pyromaniac.

• Always consult with your neighbours so that when they see a puff of smoke they know what your intentions are.

• Always be 150% prepared with equipment. Overkill on prevention is far better that trying to stop a fire when it is already out of control.

• Most people are happy to assist with advice, rather than run around trying to clean up a mess later.

• THE Midlands Conservancies Forum website has a page dealing specifically with fire at http://www.mid

• A selection of downloadable documents around the issue make interesting reading. Have a look:

• Another interesting document designed to encourage grassland managers to think about and observe the dynamics of their particular management scenario, and to apply biodiversity-friendly principles is: Grazing and Burning Guidelines: Managing Grasslands for Biodiversity and Livestock Production, which you can download at ment-archive/category/5-agriculture

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