In the cool and unexpectedly wet October and November it is difficult to imagine that we will soon be in the throes of summer, with high winds and a scorching sun. Summer is all about fun, with relaxing days and balmy nights. But for a select few, summer means hard work and smoke-filled days.
For the firefighters of Langeberg and the Cape Winelands District, the fire season from November to April gives them a great deal to do. Fifty fulltime and fifty reservist firefighters are trained to manage veld fires, with the main purpose of preventing loss of life and livelihood.
Langeberg Municipality Fire Services mainly focus on structural fires, while Cape Winelands District Municipality Fire Services mainly focus on vegetation fires. Close collaboration between the two partners allows for assistance whenever the need may arise.
“A fire is never extinguished by one person,” stated Cape Winelands Acting Fire Chief, Wayne Josias. “It is the culmination of careful planning between a number of partners prior and during the fire season. It is the result of lessons learnt, errors made, lives lost, battles won and teamwork.”
Veld fire conditions are caused by hot, strong south-westerly winds, the parched veld, often inadequately managed private land and a lot of alien vegetation that provide high fuel loads. So, even the smallest spark has the potential of turning into a raging fire, devastating the unique fauna and flora of the region. If not managed adequately, buildings, homes, crops and so much more can be laid to ruin.
The Langeberg Municipality urges residents and visitors to the area to be vigilant and cautious when dealing with fire.
‘’Fire is everyone’s fight’’, stated Langeberg Municipality`s Station Commander Fernando Hoofd. ’’Fire fighters save more than homes. They save hearts, memories and dreams.’’
To prevent fires, please ensure the following:
- Make sure braai fires and warm coals area extinguished when leaving the area, either with sand or water;
- Make sure there are no illegal electrical connections in your immediate area;
- Do not play with matches;
- Do not burn rubbish on windy days;
- Do not throw cigarette butts out of your car window;
- Do not leave fires unattended, and
- Keep your property clean and safe – this includes cutting your grass and performing regular maintenance checks.
To combat fires in our area, your assistance is of vital importance. In the event of a fire outbreak, report the fire immediately, even if it seems small.
To report fires, please use any of the following emergency numbers:
Langeberg Call Centre Emergency Number: 0860 88 1111
Langeberg Fire Brigade: 023 615 8911
Robertson (CWDM) Fire Brigade: 023 626 5340/082 770 7964
Cape Winelands Emergency Call Centre, 021 887 4446, to report all veld and mountain fires.