Cape Town fire's path 'like Mordor'

2015-03-04 10:53

Guys on the ground do the 'real' work - fire chopper pilot

2015-03-04 10:28

We spoke to fire-fighter chopper pilot Darrell Rea on Tuesday just before his next shift. At the time, Hout Bay and Tokai Forest were still big concerns, after days of raging fires on the South Peninsula. Darrell explains what goes on during an aerial assault. Watch. WATCH

Cape Town - A 23-year-old volunteer firefighter has described the devastation from the destructive fires in Cape Town as being like JRR Tolkien’s Middle-earth.

“Just ash. Ash everywhere. It’s like Mordor,” Michael Boyd, who celebrated his birthday battling the raging fires engulfing the South Peninsula, told News24.

The fires broke out in Muizenberg at the weekend and were contained, but flared up again. Firefighters were battling the blazes for a fourth consecutive day on Wednesday.

“It’s been exceptionally tiring!” he said. “This season has been incredibly hectic and it’s been the most hectic season I’ve been around for. The past couple of days have been pretty crazy. This fire is quite a beast.”

 (Photograph by Andrew Hagen)

Boyd worked throughout Sunday to help extinguish the first fires. After attending a lecture at varsity and having tea with the family on Monday, he ventured back out into the field.

Boyd was always keen to find out how he could become a volunteer firefighter, and he did so for the first time in 2011.

“I left school and was looking for something to do for the firefighting. I was really interested in getting out there and helping,” said Boyd, who is also a master’s student at the University of Cape Town.

After researching his options, he discovered Volunteer Wildfire Services (VWS), an emergency service organisation that combats runaway fires in Cape Town. After attending a recruitment meeting, Boyd became “obsessed” with the VWS and helping to stop wildfires.

“For the fires that have been going on now, I drive past a lot of the areas on a weekly basis and it’s quite unnerving to see it now, where you’re used to them being lush and green, and now they’re just completely barren,” said Boyd.

Despite his mother’s concerns about him continuously putting his life on the line, both his parents have been very supportive of his passion for fighting fires.

Boyd hopes to study medicine after he graduates. He completed first aid training while at VWS and has a Basic Ambulance Assistant training course (BAA), an entry level paramedic certification, under his belt.

“I want to thank all the members of the public for all their support and the provisions they’ve been giving out, that’s been amazing. We could go out into the line having eaten."

- Volunteer Wildfire Services are accepting help in various ways. Either through food or drink donations or making a pledge to the service. Donations can be dropped off at Newland's Fire Base, Lakeside Fire Station or Fish Hoek Fire Station.

Read more on:    cape town  |  fires

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