WoF is ready for fire season
A total of 220 Working on Fire fire fighters have been battling to contain a fire in the Bainskloof pass, close to Tulbagh for the last four days. Since the beginning of September the programme has already fought three intense Code Red fires, signaling an early start to the provinces’ fire season historically between December to April.
“The WoF team is ready for the thick of the fire season” said Shane Christian, General Manager WoF: Western Cape.
Christian said that the bulk of his team have just returned from an eight day yellow card training session; arranged to ensure the physical and mental fitness of fire fighters. Only those that passed the stringent tests have been issued with a yellow card, allowing them to fight fires during the upcoming months.
“Training, fitness and safety plays a vital role in being an effective fire fighting force” said Christian and confirmed that South Africa is the only country in the world that has a full-time and professional veld and forest fire fighting service at its disposal.
“The training equips fire fighters with leadership skills, and shows them how to be in charge of their fire fighting team and to lead them on the fire lines, often under life threatening conditions”.
The training camp ended on 6 October in Riversdale and Ceres.
Hailed as government’s most successful Expanded Public Works Programme, the WoF fire fighters, drawn from poor and destitute communities are now highly skilled and walk tall in their bright yellow outfits.
In the Western Cape WoF has the following ground teams available:
Number of bases = 28 (all in fire prone areas)
Number of teams = 31
Number of Fire Fighters = 769
Women employed = 18%
ISSUED BY WoF
For more information contact:
Mobile: 071 298 1602
About Working on Fire
Working on Fire (WoF) is the Department of Environmental Affairs’ programme to help fight unwanted veld and forest fires. South Africa is the only country in the world that has a full-time and professional veld and forest fire fighting service at its disposal. However the WoF programme not only limit damaging fires but also the scourge of poverty, crime and youth unemployment.
WoF beneficiaries are employed all year round and apart from their fire fighting work during the fire season, they also proudly participate in fire prevention and social campaigns in communities mostly affected by veld fires.
Fire fighters also do fire prevention initiatives such as fuel load reduction, prescribed burning, creation of fire breaks and mandatory fires safety campaigns before the start of the fire season.