We have had brilliant rains so the grass is nice and long. Please start talking to you neighbors about fire breaks. A fire break that has been cut and not burnt is useless. The short grass in windy conditions burns much faster than long grass. Fire breaks must also be as wide as possible. If you can burn the fire break and then cut the grass short on a wider path you should be able to contain fires. In strong wind the chances are 50/50 that the fire breaks will work. We need to be very alert from here on. Please put in an effort as the animal population is totally decimated when we have fires.

If you have paths on your property please burn on either side of these as the populace walking on the paths are the biggest culprit of veld fires. Some when they have had to much to drink and others because they are worried about the criminals hiding.

On the larger properties please lets try and get the community spirit going to help others. Please note that you are LEGALLY obliged to do fire breaks and to give fair notice to your neighbors when burning. Do not try to be heroes and do it your self. Ask for help and do it together. It can actually be some fun and some of you may actually meet your neighbors. There are a number of fire carts in the area, some privately owned and others belonging to disaster management. Make contact with the chairman of your area to put plans in place. We cannot save the whales from here but we can make a huge difference to the wildlife in our area.

The community spirit has been getting better over the years. Lets have a few fire break parties in the area.

Editor’s notes:

  • Here is an annotated copy of the National Veld and Forest Fire Act No. 101 of 1998 (185KB PDF).
  • The National Veld and Forest Fire Act talks about a Fire Danger Rating. This rating affects whether you are allowed to make a fire or not on a particular day. This table (51KB PDF), courtesy of DWAF, explains what these ratings mean.
  • To obtain the fire danger rating for a particular day, contact Mogale Disaster Management at 011-951-3000, or ask Paul Starkey or Clifford Weinmann.