As the summer season gets into full swing – hot, dry and windy weather conditions are expected, these are critical elements in starting fires.
The Department of Environmental Affairs’ programme to help fight unwanted veld fires, WoF, remains on high alert to contain the spread of veld fires throughout the Province. The public are urged to be vigilant and careful when dealing with fires or any other burning material.
A total of 40 veld fires have ravaged throughout the Western Cape province during December 2013 taking with it a total of 21 000 ha of vegetation.
Whilst January has seen 23 fires so far, mostly in the following areas: Cape City Bowl, Tulbagh and Stellenbosch. Most of the fires were caused by human negligence.
To stop these unnatural veldfires from happening:
- If you see a veldfire burning, report this immediately.
- Get rid of hot ash and coal from heating and cooking in a safe place where there is no plant material or rubbish that can catch alight.
- Cover an open fire with sand to smother it.
- Always work in an open, cleared area when working with power tools.
- Make sure that there are no illegal electrical connections connected or near your home and that electrical appliances are correctly wired. Illegal and faulty electrical connections can get hot and start to burn.
- Keep the area around your home clear of material that can burn, such as firewood, kindling and garbage.
- If you see someone playing carelessly with fire, then tell them to stop.
- Know your emergency numbers to report veldfires.
- Burn rubbish on cooler, wind-still days, as the fire can spread easily on hot and windy days and ensure that you have a burning permit
- Preferably keep cigarette ends in your vehicle, as opposed to flicking them out your window.
- Ensure that open fires are never left unattended.
- Reprimand those who play with matches or lighters.
Residents are also urged to take note of the following emergency numbers:
DISTRICT EMERGENCY NUMBERS FOR REPORTING VELDFIRES
- City of Cape Town 107 or 021 480 7700 on cellphone
- Overberg 028 425 1690
- West Coast 022 433 8700
- Eden 044 805 5071
- Central Karoo 023 414 2603
- Cape Winelands 021 887 4446