GEORGE NEWS - The Southern Cape has had the most fires in the current fire season, accounting for 15 of the 25 fires and 83 firefighter dispatches. Limakatso Khalianyane, the provincial communications officer for Working On Fire (WoF), says an estimated 20 807 hectares of land have burned in the Western Cape in December, of which 19 000 hectares are in the Southern Cape.
1 December marked the official start of the 2019/2020 summer fire season in the Western Cape, and it was definitely not a slow start. The province has had a number of multiple-day fires of which a few, mostly in the Southern Cape, caused much damage.
From 1 to 31 December, WoF dispatched ground teams 107 times to suppress 25 fires.
Aerial support were often called in. "The total number of hours flown by the aerial support this season is 224,64. Again, the majority of those hours (164 hrs) were flown during operations in the Southern Cape," he added. WoF resources were used to fight major fires in Greyton, Schoemanshoek, Nuweberg, Gouritsmond and Flower Valley.
The Vrolijkheid team was dispatched 11 times, followed by Hottentots Holland which was sent out nine times. The Four Hotshot crew, a group of highly skilled WoF firefighters from across the country, were dispatched 13 times.
General manager Melany Durthie-Surtie says the unpredictable weather system is causing heavy winds and high temperatures.
"We have identified hotspots that had not burned in previous fire seasons. We collaborate with fire stations, fire protection associations, and conservation agencies in battling these blazes."
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