WoF launches summer fire season

2013-12-02 19:03
Minister Anton Bredell and WoF founder Ronnie Kasrils taking part in a fire drill. (Photo: Lisa Geswindt)

Minister Anton Bredell and WoF founder Ronnie Kasrils taking part in a fire drill. (Photo: Lisa Geswindt)

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Cape Town – Working on Fire in partnership with the Western Cape provincial government on Monday launched the Western Cape fire season.

“During the upcoming fire season our strategy is to respond with the maximum amount of aircraft and ground teams to a fire in its early stages,” Western Cape MEC for disaster management, Anton Bredell, told News24.

“By gaining control within the first hour of the fire the possibility of a major incident is minimised,” the MEC said.

Fire response in the Western Cape has improved significantly since 2010.

“In 2010 fire response teams managed to suppress 75% in the first hour. For 2012 and 2013 fire response is 95% in the first hour,” Bredell said.

Unemployed youth

The WoF programme has grown since it was initiated in 2003 by Ronnie Kasrils, then minister of the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry.

Kasrils, who also spoke at the launch, said the project has grown from 850 personnel on a budget of R25m to its current force of 5 000 personnel with a budget of R460m.

According to Kasrils between May and September 2013, WoF fighters had to suppress over 1 850 veldfires across South Africa, which caused damage to an estimated 415 000ha of fynbos, plantations, and vegetation.

“The Working on Fire fire fighters have all been drawn from the ranks of the unemployed and poor youth. Today they are confident and highly motivated young men and women making up a disciplined, highly trained force who are highly regarded by international experts,” he said.

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The Western Cape summer fire season extends from 1 December to the end of April.


Read more on:    wof  |  ronnie kasrils  |  anton bredell  |  cape town  |  fires

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