WOF Mpumalanga teams prove their mettle

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GK CRONJE

21 September 2021

The Working on Fire Programme will also be celebrating another milestone of having been in existence for 18 years this month. The Programme is celebrating this milestone under the theme: 18 Years of Sustainability, an objective that has been fulfilled.

Suzuki Ermelo (WEB) 22 September 2020.jp

The Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environments’ Working on Fire Programme teams and the Forest Support Programme (FSP) teams assisted partners in combating numerous fires since the beginning of the Winter Fire Season. A few teams were also dispatched prior to the official beginning of the season, as veld fires raged throughout the province. The Working on Fire Mpumalanga Injaka FSP team was the busiest team prior to the season, and was dispatched numerous times to the fire line to assist the Lowveld Escarpment Fire Protection Association (LEFPA) in suppression operations. The WOF Lefpa team has also been dispatched numerous times to assist the FPA, in what has been a season with a high Fire Danger Index. The WOF Warburton team follows closely and has been called out to assist the Umpiluzi Fire Protection Association (UFPA) in the Highveld region.

“Records indicate teams have assisted in a total of 176 fires up to the end of August, since February. These fires have been recorded in both the Highveld and Lowveld region, and no injuries have been reported,” WOF Mpumalanga Communication Officer, Amanda Mthembu, said. Mthembu added: “We are approaching the peak of the Winter Fire Season and there have been 22 fires recorded in just September thus far. Our teams remain on high alert and are on standby to assist valued partners and stakeholders in Integrated Fire Management activities.” The Winter Fire Season officially began on 1 June, and teams are also hard at work conducting other Integrated Fire Management Services (IFMS) while navigating the COVID-19 pandemic. These include PrescribeSd Burns and raising awareness in their communities with Fire Awareness educational workshops and door-to-door campaigns. The Working on Fire Programme will also be celebrating another milestone of having been in existence for 18 years this month. The Programme is celebrating this milestone under the theme: 18 Years of Sustainability, an objective that has been fulfilled. The WOF Programme is part of the Government’s Expanded Public Works Programme and recruits unemployed youth from disadvantaged communities and arms them with specialized firefighting skills.