Newsletter Jul 2012
Six months have passed and much has happened since the publishing of the last edition. The SCFPA is officially a member of the Western Cape Umbrella FPA and our membership fees are paid up in full.
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We have attended many of the initial meetings during the establishment of the WCUFPA in order to ensure good cooperation between the SCFPA and the WCUFPA. Feedback on the last mentioned, will be given in the last section of the newsletter.
REDUCING DISASTER RISK FROM WILDLAND FIRE HAZARDS ASSOCIATED WITH CLIMATE CHANGE IN SOUTH AFRICA – GEF FYNBOS FIRE PROJECT
Working on Fire (WOF) applied for funding from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the SCPA took part in the process. We are happy to announce that the funding has been approved. A lot of work has gone into the application process for this funding. On 21 June 2012 the SCFPA attended the Inception Workshop at Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. During this workshop working groups were established, to deal with specific issues and to allow relevant stakeholders to participate more closely in project implementation.
The GEF "Fynbos Fire Project" a, multi-million Rand initiative between the South African Government, the United Nations Development Programme and the Global Environment Facility (GEF), is aimed at developing sustainable interventions to radically reform the approach to manage wildland/veld fire and to implement strategies critical to good practice.
The Fynbos Biome is identified in South Africa’s Initial National Communication (INC, 2003) as the most vulnerable region in the country with respect to disaster risks from wildland fire due to patterns of urbanization, agriculture and potential impacts upon water catchments areas. Project activities are thus spatially focussed in the Fynbos Biome.
The project will develop the adaptive capacity of: (i) Fire Protection Associations (FPA’s); (ii) the individual members of these FPA’s; and (iii) communities at risk in the Wild Land Interface (WUI), to more effectively manage the risks associated with an anticipated increase of climate-induced wildland fires in the Fynbos Biome. This entails the expanding the FPA’s and rationalising their configuration and governance protocols. Equipping, resourcing, staffing, financing and training of FPA members to implement Integrated Fire Management practices. Improving the quality of weather data, fire danger forecasting, early fire detection information and fire spread modelling tools. Mapping of annual pre-fire season risks to facilitate the implementation of mitigation measures to reduce environmental, social and economic risk. Developing and implementing a suite of incentives to encourage a behavioural change in landowners and communities at risk, and improving the information and decision-support tools required to support the implementation of Integrated Fire Management. This project will not invest in fire fighting equipment.
NEWS ON THE SCFPA WOF TEAMS
The SCFPA together with Working on Fire (WOF) have established a new base within the SCFPA area of responsibility. The base has been established in the Tsitsikamma (Witelsbos) area. This base adds a capacity of 22 fire fighters to that area. Cape Pine (MTO) manages this base on behalf of the SCFPA.
A second base will be situated in the Crags area but we are waiting for the approval thereof. Should the base be approved a capacity of 22 fire fighters will be added to the Crags area. This will increase the SCFPA capacity as more fire fighters will be available to fight wild fires in the above mentioned area. A base manager will be appointed to manage this base.
On a daily basis the SCFPA WOF Teams are actively involved with Integrated Fire Management within the SCFPA’s area of responsibility by either preparing or maintaining fire brakes, fuel load reduction, prescribed burning and fighting wild fires.
GOUDVELD BASE "GOLDEN HOTSHOTS"
The Goudveld Hotshots recently received HELI-TECK training. Safety procedures were covered and practical exercises executed. For all of these fire fighters it was their first time flying in a helicopter. Currently the Goudveld team have 1 trained Heli Safety Leader (HSL) and 3 acting (HSL’s) available within their ranks. Now 7 fire fighters can be transported with the helicopter to "hotspots" in order to lend assistance in case of wild fires. Thus, furthermore strengthens our fire fighting capability.
Since the publishing of the last newsletter the Goudveld team have assisted in fighting wild veld fires at Kareedow, Concordia and Swartvlei. They have also assisted with many pre-scribed burns.
RIVERSDALE BASE "RIVERSDALE HOTSHOTS"
The "Riversdale Hotshots" are now fully staffed and equipped. They have received their personal protective clothing (PPE) and are actively working in their area of responsibility. They have participated in various local community projects in and around Riversdale. Fire breaks was established at Gourits Mouth and Stilbaai (Panorama Singel) with the aim to protect the local community. Roadside and public campsite clearing was also done at Witsand.
The "Riversdale Hotshots" were also involved with at least 8 wild fires since January 2012 as well as many pre-scribed burns.
NEWS ON THE FIRE MANAGEMENT UNITS AND MEMBERSHIP:
Since the publishing of the 5th edition in January 2012 the SCFPA membership has grown from 943 members to 991 members. Nine members resigned. This is mostly due to properties being sold to new landowners and or financial reasons
Charl Wade – Manager: Western Region
20 Fire Management Units (FMU’s) have been established in the SCFPA Western Region. The SCFPA is currently busy with various awareness projects aimed at the local community and the farmers within the area. Charl Wade mentioned that only 3 veld fires out of 29 veld fires were started because of natural causes. The rest was human negligence and arson (children setting the veld alight, people smoking out bees for honey and throwing down burning cigarette buds.
Dirk Smit – Manager Eastern Region
We are currently in process of establishing FMU’s in the Tsitsikamma area. Meetings will be held to facilitate the process. Meetings will be arranged with the Eastern Cape Umbrella Fire Protection Association (ECUFPA) to strengthen our relationship with regards to cross border co-operation and assistance. Bitou and Knysna Municipality have recently become members of the SCFPA. This will promote and facilitate good co-operation. There will be better co-ordination between SCFPA and municipality’s fire fighting capabilities. Resources and awareness material can be shared and this will promote Integrated Fire Management. Transnet Freight Rail also attended the last SCFPA Executive Comity meeting with was held at the SANPARKS "Ebb and Flow" conference facility. They are in the process of joining the organization.
More and more land owners are becoming members of the SCFPA in order to participate in Integrated Fire Management. There are still a great number of smaller land owners who are unwilling or reluctant to either participate or co-operate. Hopefully with more awareness this will change and landowners will see that wild fires are not just prevented by having fire fighting resources available, but that it is far better to implement preventative measures/strategies. "Prevention is better than cure". It is very alarming to see how many landowners do not have any fire fighting capacity on their property and has no preventative measures in place e.g. fire beaters. Integrate Fire Management takes the needs of all role players into consideration and helps the community as a whole to limit financial expenditure and losses due to disastrous fires.
AWARENESS CAMPAIGNS AND SPECIAL PROJECTS BY THE SCFPA
Various awareness materials were made available to members and FMU’s. As mentioned awareness projects plays a vital part of Integrated Management. Please feel free to contact us to get hold of some of the materials we have available.
FMU managers received their FMU name board and the Eastford Downs members received training.
We have supplied several fire beaters to our members at a subsidised price. The SCFPA vision is that every member/landowner should have basic fire fighting equipment available on their properties. Please feel free to contact us to with regards to the above mentioned.
NEWS ON THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE UMBRELLA FPA
As mentioned the SCFPA has become a member of the Western Cape Umbrella FPA (WCUFPA). The SCFPA attended various WCUFPA meetings and workshops and was very instrumental with the establishing thereof. The next WCUFPA Executive Committee meeting will be hosted by the SCFPA on the 25th July 2012 and will take place at the SANPARKS "Ebb and Flow" conference centre. Feedback on this meeting will be given in the next newsletter.
SOME USEFULL TIPS:
Verify the fire danger index (FDI) for the day before doing pre-scribed burning. One must check the local FDI. Always ensure there is enough water, personnel and equipment available during pre-scribed burns. No pre-scribed burn may be done without a burning permit from your local fire brigade service.
NEW APPOINTMENT OF EDEN DISTRICS MUNICIPALITY – FIRE CHIEF
We would like to welcome Lester Smith who has been appointed as the new Fire Chief at Eden Districts Municipality. Lester took up office on the 01 June 2012.
CONDOLENCES – HANNSIE VISSER
Dear Family and Friends,
We here at the SCFPA were truly sorry to hear of the loss of Hannsie Visser. Please allow us on behalf of us all at the SCFPA and its members, to extend our deepest sympathies to you and your family as you struggle through this period of shock and grief.
Hannsie was a valuable asset to Askop Fire Management Unit, and we mourn the loss along with you.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us should you think of anything we can do to help.
Please visit us at:
facebook page: "Southern Cape Fire Protection Association"
For any further information please feel free to contact:
Dirk Smit Charl Wade Paul Gerber
Knysna Manager Riversdale Manager Chairman
Eastern Region Western Region Cell: 082 805 5840
Cell: 072 785 2742 Cell: 079 485 5320
Southern Cape Fire Protection Association