Property owners warned of fires

Property owners warned of fires

16 October 2008

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South Africa — The City of Cape Town has appealed to private property owners to remember to cut and maintain firebreaks on their properties reminding them that it is their responsibility.

The metropole’s brush-cut firebreaks extend almost 100 kilometres across the Table Mountain National Park (TMNP), municipal property, state and privately owned land.

The municipality and private property owners are responsible for 34.8km of firebreak, of which 22.1km is owned by private property owners.

According to planning and environment portfolio committee chair Brian Watkyns, the Table Mountain National Park (TMNP) has provided a firebreak service to the city since 2006 when grant funding to them was terminated.

“The city will continue with its arrangement with the TMNP to continue servicing the firebreaks until the end of this fire season. The council will pay them R928 728 to manage these firebreaks,” he said.

The firebreak programme proved exceptionally effective during the last high-risk fire season. Not one firebreak incident was reported.

“The Veld and Forest Fire Act (101 of 1998) and the Community Fire Safety Bylaw stipulate that land owners are responsible for firebreaks on their own property.

“As soon as the city has established ownership of the different properties, the owners will be informed that they are responsible for maintaining the firebreaks on their properties,” Watkyns said.

“In summer, a combination of dry conditions, strong south-easterly winds and uncut vegetation make Cape Town vulnerable to runaway fires,” said Nicki Holderness, ward councillor for Ward 61.

It is every resident’s responsibility to ensure that they do not have excessive and uncontrolled plant growth on their properties.

This year’s record winter rains will promote plant growth that will create potential fire hazards this summer.

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