The Department of Environment, Forestries and Fisheries, Working on Fire (WOF) firefighters in Mpumalanga, working with various Fire Protection Associations (FPA’s), suppressed more than 129 veld and forest fires last month, WOF spokesperson Amanda Mthembu said in a statement.
Mthembu said on July 19 the firefighter’s suppressed 18 fires in that day alone, while the fires recorded on the day spread throughout the province.
According to Mthembu, the fires recorded were all successfully contained and mop-up operations conducted.
“We dispatched a total of 24 teams to assist their FPAs and local municipalities in fire suppression operations in the month of July,” Mthembu said.
In addition to the ground crews dispatched to extinguish these fires, WOF aerial resources provided aerial firefighting assistance and flew a total of 260.60 hours, during these fire suppression operations.
“Due to the unpredictable weather patterns, we are experiencing a challenging fire season, and August being a windy month, we expect more of our teams to be dispatched in fighting runaway veld fires,” Mthembu added.
WOF continues to partner with various provincial government departments, municipalities, private and public landowners, in attempts to minimise the dire effects of veld and forest fires, she said.
WOF appeals to the community at large to be fire safe and not start unnecessary fires as August is a particularly windy month.
“Keep in mind your Fire Danger Index (FDI) when starting a fire because there are days when it is red and no one should think of starting a fire should on that day.”