South Africa — Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs Edna Molewa says the fire fighting group Working on Fire is the most important expanded public works program in South Africa. She says more than 3 000 men and women have already been trained to fight fires through Working on Fire.
Molewa says this program has taken young people off the streets and created proper jobs for them. She says fire fighters not only save people’s live, but protect goods and land and the country’s economy benefits. The Minister was speaking during the official opening of the Working on Fire Training Academy in Nelspruit in Mpumalanga.
Molema says, “We want it to be integrated into the municipal program, with the municipal fire fighting systems so that it becomes part of the broader disaster management program of our country. So far we do think it’s one of the most important and beautiful expanded public works programs of our country. And we do think that we have an EPWP model that’s the best. And therefore we need to grow it.”
Yesterday, fire fighters and disaster management teams in the Koopmansfontein were busy trying to contain the veld fires that had raged in the Northern Cape since last week. Farmers and their workers, with the assistance of a Working on Fire unit, the Northern Cape fire unit and the military, have worked day and night to bring the blaze under control.
They worked to clear the area to ensure that small fires do not flare up and spread again. Strong winds are threatening to fuel the flames once more. The fires have been raging for ten days now and the most recent blazes were caused by lightning. The failure was in the forest areas.Advertisement
Following a 10-year strategy, ACT fire managers have created a mosaic across the landscape of different fuel levels, burning at every opportunity.
But forests have been too wet to burn this spring and the past two summers.
A network of 500 fire trails and strategic burns along the north-west urban edge, heavy grazing and extra grass slashing will create a fortress for the territory which forecasters say faces a higher than average risk this summer.
After a fire-fuelled tornado in January 2003 killed four Canberrans and frightened thousands more, CSIRO fire expert Phil Cheney told the subsequent inquiry the fire’s penetration into urban areas under extreme conditions did not reflect a failure of fuel management on the urban interface.