As we begin our 2021/22 fire season there are a number of exciting new developments within our FPA.
Firstly, in line with our strategy of becoming more “business” oriented, in order to provide services to our members, we are making available the use of both helicopters and ground crews on a “pay as you go” basis. This will enhance the existing resources available within the Cape Winelands District and FPA area`s immediately adjacent, namely Greater Overberg FPA and Cape Peninsular FPA, but will in no way interfere with the resources used by the respective Fire Services.
The aircraft have only been secured as a result of the WFPA negotiating, long and hard, with both a consortium of short term insurers and a service provider, in what is referred to as an “initial attack proof of concept”. The consortium is making available very limited funds to ensure two dedicated helicopters, with very limited flying time, to assist with immediate maximum initial attack within a 50km radius of Stellenbosch Airfield, if an ignition should occur where there is an imminent threat to life and property. These aerial resources will only be available to fully paid up members of the relevant FPA`s on a second call basis, and will be solely activated and managed through the WFPA Manager.
Secondly the WFPA will be giving an opportunity to both existing and new contractor ground crews to provide services to members, in all aspects of integrated fire management (IFM) within the district, also on user pays basis. These teams will be available throughout the year, and again will be deployed only through the WFPA manager.
The Cape Winelands District Fire Work Group has met and the “hotspots” have been identified as well as confirming the response protocols of all the role-players. All the resources that are available have also been shared and the IMT documents will be completed by 15th November 2021.
Training has also been taking place in the district and we would like to remind all our members that they
need to check if all the training certificates are still valid as they do have expiry dates and refresher training may need to be completed.
As a result of the good rainy season there is a lot of fuel, especially fine flashy fuels such as grasses, which could result in rapid spread of fires should ignitions occur. This means we are expecting a busy season and request that fires are reported firstly to the CWDM Control Room and then via the member whatsapp groups for the relevant FMU`s or Wards.
Please remain vigilant and stay safe.
We wish you a blessed and peaceful Christmas holiday period.