Firefighting season launch | Western Cape Government

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Firefighting season launch

30 November 2015

water bomber

The annual launch of the Western Cape Fire Season took place in Stellenbosch today. 

Anton Bredell, the Minister of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning in the Western Cape, has warned that the dry conditions across the province indicate a difficult season ahead for firefighting entities.

“Over the past weekend the City of CapeTown suffered a devastating fire in an informal settlement where tragically lives were lost. Elsewhere in the province we have experienced similar events. I have no doubt that the upcoming season will be a long and hard test for firefighting entities across the Western Cape. Whilst we hope to limit these events and their impact as much as possible, I would ask for the help of the public in preventing fires. Fire is everyone’s fight.”

Bredell has confirmed that the Western Cape has access to the following aerial resources for this year’s fire season:

“We have access to 11 helicopters, 4 water bombers and eight spotter command and control aircraft this year. The provincial budget has also been increased to accommodate the increased threat assessment.”
Bredell has thanked the Western Cape Government’s partners for stepping up once again to help tackle fires this season.

“These include Working on Fire, the City of Cape Town’s Fire Services, the various district municipality fire services, Sanparks, CapeNature,the volunteer fire fighters and various fire protection associations. Without the cooperation of all these entities, fire would be a much greater challenge than it already is.”

Bredell has called on firefighters and the support personnel to take care when combating fires.

“In the last fire season we lost the lives of several brave firefighters and two helicopter pilots. It is a dangerous and hard task these men and women are doing. Please keep them in your thoughts over the coming season. We also remember the families and loved ones of the people we lost during the last season. These were Andrew Jantjies, Nazeem Davies, Hendrik ‘Bees’ Marais, Darryl Rea and Jastun Visagie.”

Bredell has called on visitors and residents of the Western Cape to act quickly and responsibly to prevent fires and when seeing fires.

“Early fire warnings remain critical to controlling fires quickly. Fires can be prevented and everyone has a role to play in ensuring they are prevented. Prevention of a fire is always better than the cure. But when a fire does break out, remember that getting control over it as quickly as possible is vital. If we can get to a fire within the first hour the possibility of a major incident is minimized.”

The Minister advises the public to report fires immediately and not to assume it has been reported.

Within the City of CapeTown metropolitan area, the emergency toll free number to dial in the event of a fire; is free from any cellphone. 

The number is 112.

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 House?

•    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 fires out till the wind dies down.

General Safety tips

•    In your home, always 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).

Additionally, please visit the weblink: for more information and tips on fire related incidents.

Media Enquiries: 

James-Brent Styan
Spokesperson for the Minister of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, Anton Bredell
Mobile:            084 583 1670
Telephone:     021 483 2820