Just over 200 delegates attended the official opening of the Western Cape Wildfire Season at the Lourensford Wine Estate, Somerset West, today, 28 November 2018 which was held under the auspices of the Western Cape Umbrella Fire Protection Association (Representing all five Fire Protection Associations).
After a minute's silence to honour Nico Steyn, the well-known pilot who died tragically while fighting the recent wildfires in George, and the eight civilians who also lost their lives in the fire, Anton Bredell, the Minister of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning in the Western Cape, addressed the audience and declared the Western Cape 2018 Fire Season officially open.
"We have access to 8 helicopters, 4 water bombers and eight spotter command and control aircraft that can be deployed to incidents across the province. There are 36 runways available and prepared for these aircraft to utilize in case of need", Bredell said.
"These aerial resources will be complemented by 1550 municipal firefighters across the province, bolstered by approximately 1020 seasonal firefighters (municipal and other organisations). There are also 27 Working on Fire
(WOF) teams with about 700 firefighters in the Western Cape, and an additional 500 firefighters in other provinces who can be called upon if required".
To showcase some of the resources that are available in the upcoming fire season, Working on Fire ground and aerial crews (One fixed Wing Spotter Plane, two Huey Helicopters and two Air Tractor 802 water bombers) supported by NCC and City of Cape Town firefighters participated in a firefighting demonstration.