Fire Fighting Equipment and Veld Fires In South Africa
Checking Fire Fighting Equipment before winter has become a standard drill on most farms, lodges and with municipalities. Experience has taught many a farmer and property owner the severe consequences of bush and veld fires.
Fire Fighting Equipment is a vital management tool not only in South Africa, but many sub-Saharan African countries. With the loss of cattle and livestock on farms and game lodges typically running into millions of rands, makes prevention an integral part of environmental management.
Amongs the various types of Fire Fighting Equipment available is Trailer mounted Water tanks fitted with power plants. These trailer units are fitted with fire hoses to generate high pressure water jets. Fire Fighting trailers as well as slip-on high pressure water units are also a very effective and low cost way to manage fire breaks and address some bushfires.
Over 90% of fires are caused by human negligence.
Fire Fighting Equipment is trailers and equipment is only as good as the fire prevention and environmental management policies and strategies that are put in place and enforced.
The best fire prevention strategy is to have no fire at all. However this is a highly theoretical statement and not always under human control as nature also plays a part.
The central Free State is notorious for vicious bush fires during winter and no amount of planning will prevent this natural occurrence in the grass fields.
Having said that, Fire Fighting Equipment is an integral part of managing and preventing veld fires.
South Africa has many private organizations and farmers unions that focus on training and educational aspects relating to prevention as well as actual fire fighting training.
The following excerpts come from FireWise and provide some compelling facts and highlight the duties of farmers, lodges and any other land owner when it comes to fire prevention and fire suppression.
What are the legal duties regarding wildfire prevention?
- You may not start a wild fire.
- You may only start a fire, including cooking or braai fire, in a designated area.
- Every landowner must have equipment available to fight wildfires.
- Every landowner must have personnel available to fight wildfires.
- Every landowner must have a person on their property who keeps a lookout for fires.
- Every landowner must establish a system of fire breaks.
- A landowner may not burn fire breaks or carry out controlled burns when the Fire Danger Rating is high.
- Land users must manage the fuel load on land under their control. They must remove invasive alien vegetation from the land.
- What are the requirements for fire breaks?
- Every property must have a system of fire breaks in place.
- The fire breaks must be on the boundary of the property unless there is an exemption granted by the Minister or an agreement with an adjoining landowner that the fire breaks be located somewhere else.
- The breaks must be sufficient to control the spread of wildfires
- Fire breaks may not be burnt during times when there is a high fire risk.
This is pretty much in plain English and clear for all to understand. Don’t be caught napping, invest time and resources in Fire Fighting Equipment and training and help preserve life, livestock and your livelihood.