150 firefighters deployed to help fight Mpumalanga blaze
28 August 2017
Mpumalanga – At least 150 Working on Fire (WoF) firefighters will join the battle to put out fires that have swept through Mpumalanga in the past week.
More than 200 firefighters from the Department of Environmental Affairs' WoF programme have been kept busy trying to extinguish 27 fires throughout the province.
"As the South African Weather Service predicts a 30% chance of rain over parts of Mpumalanga today, weather conditions will increase as the week progresses," the department said in a statement.
One hundred firefighters have been deployed from the Western Cape, and 50 from KwaZulu-Natal.
Areas of concern for the week ahead include Ermelo, Warburton, Mayflower and Piet Retief.
"Two regional managers and four fire trucks are en route and will be on standby in the Highveld Region," it said.
Working on Fire is a government programme that has 5 000 fully-trained wildland firefighters at 200 bases throughout the country.
They provide an essential wildland fire suppression service to land owners and municipalities.
WoF spokesperson Linton Rensburg said they also provided three spotter planes, one fixed-wing water bomber and three helicopters to provide aerial firefighting support.
He said they had also established a national deployment team to assist farmers and land owners with fire suppression efforts.
Since April, WoF provided fire suppression services at more than 800 fires. The WoF aerial firefighting aircraft flew more than 600 hours during these fires.