WCGov adds R3 million to wildfire budget

The Western Cape Government has allocated additional funding to bolster wildfires.

The initial budget of R16 million has been injected by a further R3million.

Western Cape Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning MEC, Anton Bredell, said this is due to the province experiencing an extremely busy fire season so far

Firefighters on Wednesday battled a blaze on Boyes Drive in Muizenberg. Bredell says the vegetation fire which broke out before midday but was contained just after 14:30, was extremely challenging due to high winds and inaccessible terrain.

PHOTO - Facebook: Working on Fire - Firefighters battling a blaze on Boyes Drive in Kalk Bay on Wednesday

With warmer days still ahead, Bredell expressed concern of more wildfires flaring up.

‘’We remain committed to our strategy of responding fast to fire sightings with aerial support and water bombing where necessary, as this has over time proved to be the most effective in managing wildfires. However, this strategy is expensive, and it can only be effective if it is sufficiently funded,’’ said Anton Bredell, Western Cape Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning MEC.

Since December 2023, 837 wildfires were reported to the Provincial Disaster Management Centre; Aerial support was provided at 31 of these fires. (excluding those reported in the City of Cape Town); A total of 9 fires were so far classified as major wildfires which extended over multiple operational periods; 10 376 hectares of land has burned so far this season.

Bredell anticipates that this number will increase as more damages are reported and current fires are included.

The MEC reiterated that the public plays a critical role in the prevention of wildfires.

“Fires due to natural causes, such as lightning strikes or rockfalls, account for less than 3% of all wildfires. The other 97% is caused either intentionally (25%), or through negligence (72%). These statistics show the huge role ordinary citizens can play to protect not only our natural environment, but also our personal safety and infrastructure, from runaway wildfires.’’

Bredell urged the public to report any sighting of a fire as quickly as possible to the closest authorities.

‘’Experience over many years has taught us that the faster the initial response, the better our chances are of successfully controlling a fire before it spirals out of control,’’ said Anton Bredell, Western Cape Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning MEC.


The following numbers can be contacted to report any fire sightings:

    City of Cape Town: 107 or 021 480 7700 from a cell phone

    Overberg: 028 425 1690

    West Coast: 022 433 8700

    Garden Route: 044 805 5071

    Central Karoo: 023 414 2603

    Cape Winelands: 021 887 4446


Done by: Mitchum George


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