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Wildfire2011 delegates to get first hand view of SA wildland fire fighting expertise

Tue, 19th April '11

By Carol Campbell


Lanyards for Wildfire 2011

More than 700 of South Africa’s finest wildland and forest fire fighters from the Working on Fire Programme (WoF) will participate in a national training camp taking place at a sports complex close to the Sun City resort, during the 5th International Wildfire Conference from 09 to 11 May, 2011.
The wildland and forest fire fighters, from Gauteng, North West Province, Free State and Limpopo, formed into “Hotshot” teams of 22 to 25 member crews scattered across the provinces, are preparing for the impending winter wildfire season which starts in the north and east of South Africa on June 1.

At the training camp they will also compete for recognition as their province’s top teams. They will later be joined by top WoF Hotshot teams from the Western Cape, Eastern Cape, KwaZulu Natal and Mpumalanga who will also be on hand to assist at the conference.

Before the conference draws to a close, delegates will be able to see the Hotshot teams in action in a demonstration of South Africa’s wildland fire fighting expertise. There will also be an aerial fire fighting display by pilots from FFA Aviation, part of the FFA group which implements the WoF programme on behalf of the South African Government.

At the end of the conference all the WoF wildland and forest fire fighters will participate in a mass passing out parade especially organised for the Wildfire Conference.

WoF Programme Manager Fred Mokgope, said the safety and survival training was part of WoF’s pre-season skills development and training. The course is being held close to Sun City to allow conference delegates a glimpse into the workings of the WoF Programme.

“These training camps show the Working on Fire Programme at its best,” said Mokgope, “the wildland and forest fire fighters will also take part in a 36km route march through the area which is always a proud display of the discipline and commitment of our teams.”

The Working on Fire Programme is a job creation initiative which provides skills training for predominantly previously unemployed rural people.

Please contact Christalene De Kella media.sc@wofire.co.za if you would like to attend the passing out parade.

* The 5th International Wildland Fire Conference to be held at Sun City, North West Province from 9 to May 11 2011 will bring together members of the science community involved with fire, climate and related fields with those involved in technical operational fire management. This also includes those affected by fire and the authorities concerned and mandated with developing policies and strategies in Wildland fire management.