Working on Fire Free State and Working on Fire North West are still hard at work assisting their Fire Protection Associations and landowners to control raging fires that have gripped both provinces, causing extensive damage.
News from the Free State
The fires in Free State began on Monday, 19 October, and were declared as contained on Thursday, 22 October. However, due to the weather conditions, which included thunderstorms and extremely strong winds, the fires were re-ignited and spread rapidly.
Four Working on Fire teams, namely, Bloemfontein, Bloemhof, Dewetsdorp, and Molteno
(Eastern Cape) were on the ground, supporting the Mangaung Fire Protection Association and landowners.
The teams conducted back burns in an attempt to contain the fires, but as more storm activity continued, and with a sudden change in wind direction, the fires spread even further in the early hours of this morning.
Kishugu Aviation and WOF aerial firefighting teams from around the country, and Mpumalanga’s
Lowveld Escarpment Fire Protection Association (LEFPA) and the Umphuluzi Fire Protection Association (UFPA), are providing aerial firefighting support.
Two WOF Spotter planes were dispatched this morning to where three hotspots were reported. Two AT-802 Bomber planes, with a load capacity of 3000 litres of water each, dropped loads (amounting to 75 000 litres of water), at these hotspots, during the course of yesterday and this
Additional WOF ground teams (namely the Bethlehem, Reivilo, Brandford, and Winburg teams) have joined the existing teams to boost capacity in suppression efforts.
The weather forecast for today indicates more thunderstorm activity, therefore, creating the possibility of more flare-ups.
News from the North West
The North West fire located between the towns of Vryburg and Schweizer-Reneke, the Amalia
fire, began on Thursday, 22 October, and was declared contained in the afternoon, with the Working on Fire North West teams conducting mop-up operations.
However, because of the extremely high Fire Danger Index (FDI), strong winds re-ignited the blaze and sent spot-fires to an unburnt area. The teams conducted back burns in the early hours of the evening, to burn the rest of the unburnt area and managed to contain the fire.
However, the fire flared up again on Thursday evening, with the WOF Naledi team, consisting of 12 firefighters, assisting in fire suppression operations. The Boskop and Naledi teams, totalling 37 firefighters, are currently on the fireline attending to the fire, assisting the Potchefstroom and Rainbow Fire Protection Associations, North West Parks Board and landowners.