‘Suspicious spate of fires’

A suspicious spate of fires. Photo: City of Cape Town

A suspicious spate of fires. Photo: City of Cape Town

“Truly suspicious,” is how Alderman JP Smith, the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security, today described the spite of fires around the Cape Peninsula. According to Smith the City’s Fire and Rescue Service has had to battle 5 465 fires (an average of 75 a day) between 1 November 2016 and 12 January 2017.

“We can have all the resources in the world, but if the public doesn’t work with us, then it all comes to nought.” The City of Cape Town has approximately 900 permanent staff members, with between 210 and 250 on shift at the City’s 30 fire stations at any given time. An additional 120 seasonal fire-fighters are employed over the summer months and two helicopters and a spotter plane provide aerial support.

Tips for preventing wildfires:
·         Fire-wise your garden by limiting flammable vegetation species. Cut and trim fire-loving vegetation such as invasive alien plants regularly.
·         Avoid slash-and-burn or bush-clearing activities on high-risk days. You have to have a burning permit or prior authorisation.
·         Have fire hydrants at hand.
·         Only braai in safe and designated areas. Never leave fires unattended.
·         Use heating, cooking or lighting devices on a stable platform and not near flammable substances of any kind.
·         Protect your property by making a proper firebreak between your home and nearby vegetation to protect your property.
·         Use safety caps on all poisonous or flammable substances containers
·         Don’t throw burning cigarette butts from vehicles.
·         The sale, distribution and discharge of fireworks without a valid permit is an offence.

Fires must be reported to the City’s Public Emergency Communication Centre by dialling 021 480 7700 from a cellphone or 107 from a landline.



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