WOF ready to tackle Fire Season

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GK CRONJE

The WOF Programme is celebrating 18 years of sustainability.

Suzuki Ermelo (WEB) 22 September 2020.jp

More than 450 veld and forest firefighters from the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment Working on Fire Programme in Mpumalanga are ready for the Winter Fire Season. Working on Fire Mpumalanga concluded their week-long Yellow Card Assessment Camps on Sunday, 10 April 2022, as preparations for the season are in full swing. Teams from the Highveld region, namely Piet Retief, Wakkerstroom, Volksrust, Ermelo, Breyten, Badplaas, Warburton, Balfour, Mayflower, Belfast, and Loskop took part in Yellow Card Assessment Camps at the AJ Swanepoel Stadium in Ermelo. Teams in the Lowveld region, namely Dullstroom, Nelspruit, Barberton, Lydenburg, Lefpa, Nkomazi, Wilgeboom, Salique, Injaka, Graskop, Mlambongwane and Waterval Boven completed their assessment at the Kishugu Training Academy in Mbomela.

In Secunda, the Sasol team concluded their training at their base, the Sasol Fuel plant, on Tuesday, 12 April 2022. The two Lowveld and Highveld camps ran concurrently with teams taking turns at the camps, in adherence to the COVID-19 regulations. The annual Yellow Card assessments ensure firefighters are theoretically and practically trained for the upcoming Winter Fire Season, which begins in June, and ends in October. The training consisted of a fitness assessment, which included the 2.4 kilometre run, sit-ups, push-ups, and pull-ups. Firefighters were also theoretically assessed with tests, and practically assessed on various firefighting techniques, which include a firewall and line construction, just to name a few. The assessments end with a route march, in which teams participate in a 10 kilometre march, to test their endurance and strength as they can be expected to go for long hours combating fire on the fire line. “Our firefighters are ready to assist partners, Fire Protection Associations, and stakeholders in fire suppression operations. We urge landowners to get in contact with us so we can assist with our much-sought-after Integrated Fire Management Services, which include amongst others, prescribed burning, manual fuel load reduction, community fire awareness education, and fire suppression plans,” WOF Mpumalanga Communication Officer, Ms Amanda Mthembu, said.

“We urge communities to be more vigilant during this fire season, and to not start unnecessary fires, particularly during the dry and cold days this winter. We appeal to community members to remove unnecessary rubble on their properties, which can pose a serious fire risk. Properties next to grasslands need to ensure there are sufficient fire breaks between their properties and these grasslands,” Ms Mthembu concluded. The Working on Fire Programme is part of the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP), and is funded by the Department of Forestry, Fisheries, and the Environment. The WOF Programme is celebrating 18 years of sustainability, and has been making a sustainable difference in the lives of its firefighters, partners, and stakeholders.