GARDEN ROUTE NEWS - The official Western Cape fire season ended on Wednesday 31 March. From 1 April, landowners and custodians in possession of controlled burn permits are allowed to perform their burns, with the usual safety requirements as well as Covid-19 measures in place.
George fire chief Neels Barnard requested new permit applicants to contact the department by phone or e-mail (information below) to make the necessary arrangements, as the fire department is still closed to the general public to protect firefighters from Covid-19.
The last allowable date for controlled burns this year is 28 October, after which the fire season starts.
The municipality prefers that only controlled burns for agricultural purposes (such as clearing fields for regrowth) take place and requests land owners that are using fire to reduce biomass to consider alternatives such as chipping.
A controlled burn permit is valid for 12 months from the date of issue, but may not be used during the official fire season, which in the Western Cape is usually from November / December to February / March each year.
On the day of the planned controlled burn, the permit holder must phone the fire station for permission to go ahead with the controlled burn. Permission may be withheld if the fire index for the day is too high.
Controlled burns must take place Mondays to Thursdays, excluding public holidays, and all fires must be extinguished by 16:00 every day. Permits will not be issued inside the urban edge (among residential areas).
"We appeal to the public to always be fire aware, no matter what time of the year it is," said Barnard. "Please exercise extreme caution at all times, make fires in protected and designated areas only, and dispose of cigarette butts safely. Burning of garden refuse in residential areas is illegal.
For enquiries and electronic applications send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Useful contact numbers
- Fire emergencies only: 044 801 6311
- All after-hours emergencies: 044 801 6300
- General enquiries (office hours): 044 801 6300
- Uniondale (office hours): 044 752 1225.
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