Newsletter - May 2010
Since the SCFPA’s inception in 2006 significant steps have been made towards managing veldfires in the Southern Cape. I was appointed on contract from October 2009, initially to focus on the following main aspects within the SCFPA namely:
1) Increase membership
2) Divide the area into Fire Management Units
3) Visit all existing management units at least once during initial 4 month contract period.
- Give feedback on FPA progress to all members
- Check on equipment, training and teams
- Request fire reports from members
- Provide advice on fire related work
4) Finalize action plans for existing management units
5) Raise awareness of fire related issues
6) Develop funding proposals to ensure project sustainability
7) Pursuit the membership of parastatals
Membership figures of the SCFPA have been steadily increasing since October 2009, and now amount to in the region of 680 members, with 23 Fire Management Units now established. These management units are in various stages of compiling the action plans; however the largest work component wil involve the implementation of these plans. The Mossel Bay FPA has now also amalgamated with the SCFPA, thus increasing the potential membership base, and assisting in keeping the fee structure as low as possible.
A further very significant step towards assisting landowners in the implementation of integrated fire management has been the recruitment of two Wage Incentive fire fighting teams. These teams are trained in Veldfire fighting by Working on Fire, but wil be for the use of the SCFPA’s members, at reduced rates, to conduct fire related functions.
The recruitment of these teams began on the 17th of May 2010 with the appointment of 44 fire fighters, as well as a base manager, Japie Hendrikz and three crew leaders Warun Gelant, Shaida Isaacs and Mothusi Skosana. These teams will be utilized to do fire breaks for controlled burns in the George catchment for the months that follow, however wil be available for use by the SCFPA members in due course, once a detailed costing has been compiled and the controlled burns in George have taken place.
My contract period has fortunately been extended in the meantime, and Bernadene Kolbe has also been appointed to tackle the administrative work load. Hopefully with membership numbers increasing, the sustainability of the Southern Cape Fire Protection Association will be ensured.
Please encourage your neighbours to join if they have not yet done so.
Yours towards a fire safe environment,
Mark H van Niekerk, SCFPA Manager