Ready to fight fires

2015-06-17 06:00
THE Working on Fire personnel educating the Impumelelo Primary School learners about fire safety.

THE Working on Fire personnel educating the Impumelelo Primary School learners about fire safety.

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BETHLEHEM. – The Department of Environmental Affairs’ Working on Fire (WoF) Programme in the Free State has attended to and suppressed three fires since the official start of this year’s winter fire season.

All the fires were in the Eastern Free State in Clocolan, Ficksburg and Warden.

According to Limakatso Khalianyane, the provincial communications officer, the province had an early start to this fire season. She said their teams had put out a total of 14 fires in May, a month before the official beginning of the fire season.

“As part of readiness for the fire season, a helicopter will be dispatched to the province to provide aerial support should it be required. It will be based in Bethlehem for the rest of the fire season.

“Four of our teams on the borders will be on standby to assist neighbouring provinces should there be any disasters or emergencies.

“The Rouxville team will be on standby to assist the Eastern Cape, Boshof will be on standby for the Northern Cape while Kroonstad will be on standby for the North-West and Harrismith for KwaZulu-Natal,” she said.

Khalianyane said as part of raising awareness about the winter fire season, the province’s WoF fire awareness department had embarked on an extensive fire awareness campaign in the Eastern Free State.

“Over 500 learners were visited in four schools and taught about fire safety. Communities in fire-prone areas, particularly the farms around Bethlehem, were visited and warned to be careful during the fire season.

“The Free State and the Northern Cape have 700 trained veld and forest firefighters in 27 bases. There are also 25 vehicles which consist of eight buses, six samils, nine LBV bakkies, a strike unit and an HSV,” she said

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