Statement by Minister of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development
17 January 2017
Statement by Minister of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, Anton Bredell.
WC fires update
Paarl Fires, Air Force assisting
There are at least 19 fires currently being fought across the Western Cape, mainly in the Cape Peninsula, West Coast and Cape Winelands districts.
The major incident at the moment is a fire in the Paarl area that is still burning out of control. One major structure has been destroyed this morning. The fire in the Paarl area is being fanned by strong wind and several properties remain at risk.
Anton Bredell, the Minister of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning in the Western Cape, says the South African Air force (SAAF) has agreed to deploy additional resources to combat the fires in the province.
“We are very grateful to the SAAF and the Minister of Defence for their assistance. The Oryx helicopters are much larger and able to deliver a bigger payload compared to the helicopters we usually rely on. We know the SAAF assistance will make a huge difference.”
The SANDF resources have already been deployed to assist the Cape Winelands District Municipality.
Colin Deiner, head of Disaster Management in the Western Cape says the fire within the Cape Town city bowl that broke out on Monday evening has not yet been completely extinguished and operations are continuing to prevent further flare ups.
“The priority for the firefighting entities at the moment, remains the Paarl fire. The extremely strong wind is making flying very difficult. There are currently around 200 firefighters on the scene battling very difficult conditions.”
Members of the public within the affected areas are urged to remain calm and to cooperate with authorities and firefighting entities when called upon to do so.
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