GENERAL

Cape Town combats surge in summer fires with aerial support

The City of Cape Town reports a surge in veld fires this summer, recording 6,000 vegetation fires from October 2022 to January 2023.

Aerial support, including two Huey helicopters and a Cessna 182 spotter plane, is deployed. Over 200 firefighters are on standby, and mutual agreements with neighboring districts are in place.

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Additionally, 120 trained wildland firefighters are hired on a fixed-term basis.

CAPE TOWN COMBATS SURGE IN SUMMER FIRES

The city has introduced aerial support aircraft, which include two Huey helicopters and a Cessna 182 spotter plane, during its fire readiness event on Thursday,according to EWN.

City officials stress the importance of prompt fire reporting, enabling a quicker response. The Fire & Rescue Service integrates helicopters and a spotter plane into its summer readiness plans, branding them for identification.

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Last season, the spotter plane logged 38 hours, while helicopters completed 1,017 water drops in 68 hours.

Mayoral Committee Member Alderman JP Smith emphasizes the critical role of aerial support in combating vegetation fires, especially in mountainous regions.

Image by City of Cape Town

“Cape Town is no stranger to wild fires. To this end, we have put in place numerous measures to mitigate the risks and effectively manage incidents where they do occur.

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I also want to remind the public to please report any sign of fire as soon as you spot it. Do not assume that someone else has already done it. The sooner a fire is reported, the sooner our teams can respond and limit the extent, potentially saving lives and property, added Alderman Smith.”

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN 2022 AND 2023

Between October 2022 and January 2023, the Fire & Rescue Service tackled 6,024 fires, a 13% rise from the previous year.

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The city ensures a minimum of 210 firefighters at stations, signs mutual aid agreements, and collaborates with Table Mountain National Park and Volunteer Wildfire Services.

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