The Portfolio Committee on Environment, Forestry and Fisheries offers its support to the firefighters working to stop the fires that have ravaged through Cape Town.
The committee understands that there are more than 250 firefighters working to extinguish the fires drawn from Working on Fire, SANParks and City of Cape Town. "We are confident that we have capable fire-fighting men and women to effectively control fires of this magnitude, especially our team from the Working on Fire Programme who have a proven track record in firefighting beyond the borders of this country", said Chairperson of the committee, Mr Fikile Xasa.
The work of the firefighters is obviously made particularly difficult by the strong winds that are flaring it and spreading it to other parts of the city. The committee notes that some of the firefighters have been injured and hospitalised. The committee wishes them a speedy recovery.
The committee appreciates the efforts from non-governmental organisations, businesses and residents that are supporting the efforts to fight the fires by donating supplies and items to all those working to contain and extinguish the fires. The committee also sends out a message of support to the University of Cape Town that has been greatly affected by the fires through loss of property, valuable literary and academic material.
The committee encourages Capetonians to be watchful and be proactive in preventing veldfires, especially this time, as invasive alien plants which have encroached on the fynbos vegetation increase the frequency of vegetation fires more than the natural frequency of fires in this fire-driven system. Vegetation fires (wildfires) have various impacts on the environment and on the climate via the emissions of greenhouse gases. Changes in climate that create warmer, drier conditions, increased drought, and a longer fire season also exacerbate increases in wildfire risk.