23 August 2017

South Africa: Firefighters Tackle 44 Blazes in 24 Hours

Photo: Volunteer Wildfire Services/Facebook
Helicopters transport water to douse wildfires (file photo).

More than 800 firefighters from the Department of Environmental Affairs' Working on Fire programme have battled 44 fires in the past 24 hours.

Twelve of these fires were in the Free State, 11 in Mpumalanga, 9 in Gauteng, 8 in KwaZulu-Natal, 2 in the Eastern Cape and 1 each in Limpopo and the North West.

"We urge communities and landowners to remain vigilant and not to start any unnecessary fires," said Working on Fire spokesperson Linton Rensburg.

"We also urge people to have a watch on the daily Fire Danger Index (FDI) warnings issued by the SA Weather Service."

Working on Fire is a government programme that has 5000 fully trained wildland firefighters at 200 bases throughout the country.

They provide an essential wildland fire suppression service to landowners and municipalities.Rensburg said they also provided three spotter planes, one fixed wing water bomber and three helicopters to provide aerial firefighting support.

He said they had also established a national deployment team to assist farmers and land owners with fire suppression efforts.

Since April, Working on Fire provided fire suppression services at more than 800 fires. The Working on Fire aerial firefighting aircraft flew more than 600 hours during these fires.

Source: News24

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