Temperatures in the Cape Winelands have been reaching the forties in the last few days. These high temperatures create the perfect conditions for veld fires. Even the smallest spark has the potential of turning into a raging and devastating fire.
While many will stay indoors avoiding the outside heat, some venture out in search of places and ways to stay cool.
Here are some tips to stay safe while out and about hiking, cycling or camping:
– Stay alert to the possibility of veld fires at all times.
– Be aware of your environment.
– Keep your mobile charged and have the local emergency services numbers saved before you venture out.
– Always tell someone where you will be hiking, cycling or camping and when they can expect your return.
– Make sure you get the required permit for the area you want to visit.
– Never make a fire outside a designated area.
– Should you be trapped by a fire: Stay upwind from the fires and try to make your escape through an area with sparse green vegetation.
– Landowners, guest farms and bush chalets keep your properties safe by ticking off this checklist.
Early warning systems
– Be aware of weather conditions associated with high fire danger in your area (temperature, wind speed, direction and relative humidity).
– Be aware of the daily fire-danger rating during the fire season.
– Compile a list of emergency phone numbers.
– Make sure your property can be easily located by the fire services.
Sheds and gardens
– Remove flammable materials such as wood piles that are close to buildings.
– Store fuel and paint in a single place away from the house.
– Keep lawns short and green.
– Cut grass and other vegetation under screening trees.
– Remove dead leaves, dry vegetation and litter from the garden.
– Store fire beaters, rakes, spades, buckets, hoses and mops in one easily accessible place.
– Check pumps on a daily basis.
It’s important to note that anyone can report a veld fire; you will not be held financially responsible for reporting a fire.