Working on Fire (WOF) in the Free State has put out 345 veld and forest fires in the province since the start of the winter fire season, which started on 1 June 2019. To date 564 firefighters have been dispatched and have put out fires on 53 454.84 hectares of land that have been burnt across the province.
On numerous occasions up to nine separate fires have raged concurrently across the province. The longest lasting fire recorded was in Harrismith with a duration of three days and required four Working on Fire teams to contain and suppress the fire.
Lazola Banzana, WOF Free State General Manager, said that although the winter fire season is ending, they will remain on standby. “We urge our partners to still make use of our teams. Regardless of the fact that we are heading out of the winter fire season, our teams remain on stand by and continue to work shifts because of the high number of fires we are experiencing in the province due to the warm, dry conditions.
We also urge landowners, farmers and communities to stay vigilant regarding fire safety to avoid unnecessary loss of life and damage to property as result of veldfires,” said Lazola.
The winter fire season officially ends on Thursday, 31 October 2019 or when the province experiences its first heavy rainfall, however, fires continue to flare up due to dry conditions.