Preparations being made for upcoming Cape fire season

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Cape Town – Despite the recent rains, the Province is “quite concerned” about the upcoming fire season and the disaster management and fire brigade services are working with agencies to get the necessary protective systems in place.

During a briefing to the standing committee on local government on the state of readiness of disaster management, provincial chief director for disaster management Colin Deiner said: “The notion that because it has rained quite a lot we won’t get a lot of fires is not correct.

“The moment we start getting warm weather we will end up having major fires, especially because this year as a result of the Covid-19 lockdown we have not been able to properly clear alien vegetation and the invasive species tend to dry out quite quickly, leading to fires.”

Deiner said the department’s integrated fire management included fire awareness activities; fire prevention activities; resource sharing and co-ordination; fire detection; fire suppression; fire damage rehabilitation; and research at local, provincial and national levels. We have realised that continuous urbanisation is having a massive effect on our wildfire season.”

Committee chairperson Derrick America said: “Of concern is the increasing risk of fires as illegal land invasions continue and may eradicate formal and informal urban edges which act as natural barriers to fires. I have written to Local Government MEC Anton Bredell to request details of the engagement between his department, Human Settlements, and municipalities in order to address this issue.”

More than 700 firefighters across the province are also reinforcing their skills and gearing up for fire season which is expected in just over a month.

Working on Fire (WOF) sent more than 120 new recruits for training and 600 current firefighters to complete their Yellow Card Training, the last training sessions to prepare them for the summer season

WOF Western Cape general manager Melany Duthie-Durtie, said: “The Yellow Card Training was a good opportunity for our firefighters to be refreshed in their physical and mental abilities to tackle the fire season.”

Professor Richard Walls from Stellenbosch University’s Fire Engineering Research Unit, said: “Working together is the only way that we are going to get integrated fire safety.

“This is not a quick fix, but working with communities will be most effective because they are actually the first responders.”

The City’s Fire and Rescue Service on Thursday held a display for the new Rosenbauer Metz Turntable Ladder L56 at the Epping Training Academy.

These specialised vehicles are a new addition to the City’s fleet.

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The City’s Fire and Rescue Service on Thursday held a display for the new Rosenbauer Metz Turntable Ladder L56 at the Epping Training Academy. These specialised vehicles are a new addition to the City’s fleet. Picture: Henk Kuger/African News Agency

The City of Cape Town’s Fire and Rescue Service on Thursday held a display for the new Rosenbauer Metz Turntable Ladder L56 at the Epping Training Academy.

These specialised vehicles are a new addition to the City’s fleet.

“Fire officers are often confronted with challenging circumstances when they are called upon to fight a fire or assist in rescue operations that necessitate specialised equipment.

“The hydraulic rescue platform vehicles are unique as up to six people can be lowered in a rescue cage from a building. This is a first in Africa. The aerial reach of the vehicle is approximately 56 meters,” said the City.

Cape Argus

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