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Veld Fires and Fire protection in the Conservancy

As a result of the past season’s good rain, the risk of fire danger has unfortunately increased for the winter of 2010.

Conservancy members are cautioned to protect their properties against veld fires and to prevent fires spreading from, or over their properties. Last season more than 98% of veld fires started on properties of landowners who are not members of the Fire Protection Association (FPA).

The FPA says “We had the usual problem of rubbish dumps that were burnt without supervision; causing veld fires as well as problems to gain access to properties where veld fires were present."

The main problems however were:

  • Uncontrolled veld fires outside our area, spreading into our area.
  • Uncontrolled veld fires that started on properties where the landowners are not members of the FPA, therefore making coordinated efforts to deal with such fires very difficult and in some cases impossible.
  • Uncontrolled veld fires that started on derelict land where the owners are not present and no control is executed.
  • Veld fires that started and spread because landowners do not control these fires as they do not have the required equipment, do not adhere to the FDI rating (Fire Danger Rating) that is sent to FPA members, and in general, ignorance of the legislation. It was found that 95% of veld fires in August and September started on days when the FDI rating was orange.
  • Too much time was wasted on fighting fires around buildings and other property in stead of preventing the fires from spreading. Owners do not clean around buildings, in order to protect it against veld fires.
  • Neighbours and the FPA coordinator are not advised beforehand when fire breaks are burned, resulting in unnecessary response and wasted man hours, fuel and communication costs.

The chairman of the FPA says "We can expect huge veld fires this coming season because of very tall grass. Fighting these fires will be difficult and dangerous. The roads and access roads are in a bad state after the rain and will probably not be graded before the start of the fire season. Quick access to fires will therefore not be possible."

An appeal is made to members to start with their preparation for this fire season early, cleaning around buildings and property that may be in danger of spreading veld fires.

Special attention should be paid to thatched roof buildings. Grass around these buildings (40 to 50 metres) should be cut very short. Ladders should be readily available, in order to get onto such roofs. Fires on a thatched roof are very difficult to handle.

In most cases a fire on a thatched roof is not merely put out with water.  If the fire brigade is called out, members must be prepared to receive an account for a few thousand rands.

The FPA warns that their equipment is not suitable for fighting a thatched roof fire.  "We can merely keep such a fire cool to prevent it from spreading fast, until the fire brigade arrives.”

First Aid and Fire Fighting courses

The FPA Management Committee took some pro-active steps and organised a First Aid training course presented by the West Rand District Municipality, from 23 to 26 March 2010.

This highly practical course was presented very professionally by Mr Ben Subke.

The FPA now boasts 14 newly trained first aiders!  A follow-up course to deal with fractures and dressings is planned for the near future.

A course in fire fighting took place at Shelter Rock on 30 April 2010.  Many thanks to Johann and Corry Botha for making their facilities available for the training.

About 40 FPA members and farm workers attended the course (more about this in the next Newsletter).

This rather expensive training is free for FPA members. Both the First Aid and Fire Fighting courses can be repeated by request. The only condition for participation is that one must be a member of the FPA.


First Aid Course

First Aid Course hosted by Shelter Rock

If Conservancy members are interested in joining the FPA, please contact the Chairman, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., at 014 576 2351 or 082 856 3183

Emergency treatment for serious burn wounds

  • Remove the cause/the person away from the fire.
  • Make the person comfortable and keep him/her warm to prevent shock.
  • Keep the injured part under cold running water for at least 20 minutes.
  • Remove all jewellery as soon as possible.
  • Cover the wound with a damp dressing.
  • Transport the person to hospital as soon as possible.


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