18 January 2017
Statement by Minister of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, Anton Bredell.
WC fires update
SEVERE FIRE WEATHER WARNING
The Western Cape Disaster Management Centre would like to alert the public to a severe fire weather warning for the Western Cape for today. Extremely hot and dry windy conditions can be expected across the province.
Anton Bredell, the Minister of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning in the Western Cape, says these are the worst conditions for a wildfire to occur.
“If a fire starts under these conditions, it will be very hard to control, it will be unpredictable and it will be fast moving.”
Bredell has cautioned the public to be aware of the threats and dangers posed by wildfires at the moment and to take precautions where necessary.
“People who are outdoors or in close proximity to vulnerable areas should be aware of the enhanced threat of wildfires. Please take extra care to fully extinguish campfires and report any new wildfires promptly. I would go so far as to request the public to desist from making any fires outdoors today.”
Colin Deiner, head of Disaster Management in the Western Cape says firefighting continued overnight across the Western Cape with the priority area still in the Paarl region, the Hawequa fire.
“There are 200 firefighters on the ground and 4 helicopters water bombing in the area. Two of these are air force Oryx helicopters. The fire is currently burning towards Wellington on the one side and Bainskloof on the other side.”
The other major fires still ongoing are in the Grootwintershoek mountain range close to Tulbagh and in the Stilbaai area. Monitoring operations and in some regions will continue throughout the day.
When reporting fires, please contact your Local District Municipality
· City of Cape Town - 107 or 021 480 7700 from a cellphone
· Overberg - 028 425 1690
· West Coast - 022 433 8700
· Eden - 044 805 5071
· Central Karoo - 023 414 2603
· Cape Winelands - 021 887 4446
The WCDMC has the following tips to help keep families safe from fire:
What if a Fire breaks out in my home?
· Warn people inside the house to get out safely.
· Help people to get out and stay out of harm's way.
· If there is a lot of smoke, crawl out below the smoke to escape the fire.
· Where possible, have more than one exit from your house, with clear routes to the door.
Safety around an Open Flame
· Keep matches and lighters out of children's reach.
· Cut candles in half to prevent them falling over and use a candle holder.
· Never leave an open fire – for example around a braai - unattended.
· Do not let open fires – for example a braai - get too big and out of control.
· Monitor weather conditions. If the wind is strong, rather put the fire out till the wind dies down.
General Safety tips
· Keep a well-maintained fire extinguisher in your house, and know how to use it.
· If you have no extinguisher, keep an empty bucket for water or a bucket of sand if possible, on hand.
· If you have a garden hose, keep it rolled up and ready in case of fire.
· Have an escape plan, and make sure that the whole family knows the plan.
· Do not park in the way of a fire hydrant (and remind your neighbours and visitors to do the same).
Spokesperson for the Minister of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, Anton Bredell
Mobile: 084 583 1670
Telephone: 021 483 2820