Each summer veld fires make the headlines with thousands of hectares burnt, crops damaged, houses lost, injuries and sadly sometimes lives lost. There are many ways in which all members of the public can help to keep these to a minimum and we will discuss the most important.
Prevent accidentally starting a runaway fire by making sure your outdoor braai fires are properly put out; not throwing cigarette butts out of cars or into bushes or dry grass; and most importantly by not setting off Chinese lanterns, fireworks or flares.
Protect yourself, your family and animals from injury by discussing with your family what to do in the event of a fire near your home, who to call and what to do in the case of an evacuation; follow all instructions given to you by the authorities; and most of all keep well clear of the fire, stay out of the way and do not block or congest any access roads to allow the firefighters to do their jobs. If you want to make a donation of food or refreshments please do so at a fire station or by contacting the fire services.
Protect your home from damage by keeping grass cut short; clearing all trees, bushes and dry vegetation away from within 10m around houses and structures; cleaning the roof gutters of vegetation such as dead leaves etc.; testing the sprayers on thatch roofs regularly; and if a you are a rural landowner join the Fire Protection Association.
Report all veld fires immediately to the Cape Winelands Fire Department on 021 887 4446 or call 112 or 10177.