10 July, 2017
Forestry South Africa shares practical tips
for fire season
destructive nature of fire and the loss to people's lives and property are very
fresh in the minds of many. "While insurers are yet to calculate the
value of the damage in the Southern Cape, it would be impossible to quantify
the personal loss of such devastation to families, their homes and possessions
as well as businesses in the area," says Michael Peter, executive director of
Forestry South Africa. "In forestry terms, the annual loss to the economy in
timber and wood products due to fires is estimated at around some R3 billion."
During 2016, an estimated 6,000 wild fires occurred,
burning close to 500,000 hectares of land (including grasslands and trees) in Mpumalanga
and KwaZulu-Natal. These fires not only endangered the lives and homesteads of
local residents but put numerous fire fighting teams at considerable risk.
is little doubt over the threat of major fires; both in terms of human life and
suffering, the threat to animals, and the potential economic consequences of a
blaze in both timber plantations and indigenous forests.
one spark can start a fire that can damage tree plantations and crops,
livestock and houses - and threaten people's lives. And as we have
past few weeks in the areas of Knysna, Plettenberg Bay and Port
Elizabeth, strong winds can change a fire's ferocity within seconds.
we can work together to report forest
and veld fires quickly to prevent further devastation," Peter says.
year, Forestry South Africa in collaboration the Department of Agriculture, Forestry
and Fisheries (DAFF) launched the Fire-Wise campaign to create awareness of the
very real danger of fires during the dry winter months.
advice may seem to be common sense but in a fire situation, things can go from
bad to worse in seconds.
that all fires start small so act fast. Report fires - no matter their size - to
the local fire protection services.
start a fire you cannot stop.
try to stop a raging fire without proper training and equipment.
children and neighbours about the dangers of fire, and encourage them to be
leave a fire unattended.
care with candles and lamps. They can get knocked over and start a fire very
throw a match or cigarette into dry grass or bush.
coals can easily be re-ignited by a gust of wind. Douse them properly with sand
protection associations all over South Africa have been on fire alert since
mid-May. Official open-fire prohibition is from August to the end of October.
Report any wildfires to 086-066-3473 (nationwide)
Audio clips available for download
Under the slogan ‘Be fire wise for your future and our
forests', a series of public service announcement clips were produced in 2016 to bring home the
reality of forest and veld fires and provide information on how to act in an
the 30 sec generic clips (5 different messages in both English and Zulu) and 10
sec generic clips (3 different messages in both