They enter the stage when the fire is at its most ferocious and leave when everything is blackened and scarred. This is the reality of our heroes who put their lives on the line every season to keep Cape Town safe from being ravaged by runaway fires.
A touching video posted by fire photographer Justin Sullivan, in memory of three firefighters who lost their lives during this year’s fire season, gives viewers a small insight into the harsh conditions they endure.
Windspeed, temperature and reaction all play a vital role in bringing the flames under control. There are two types of fires as highlighted by the video, a plantation fire and a fynbos fire. A plantation fire can get big very quickly and is a lot hotter.
The Simonsberg fire shown in the video burnt for 5 days in the first week of February, Makelepe Cedri Seokama lost his life in the fire.
The video is a dedication to three heroes fallen who died in the line of duty – Gert Wilskut, Makelepe Cedri Seokama and Candice Kruger.
Most have little understanding of what firefighters endure. Long days and nights without any sleep, smoke inhalation and extreme temperatures are only a few working conditions.
Chatting to Sullivan recently, he said the best initial action is to be ‘Fire Smart’ and don’t start fires in unsafe conditions.
“Be aware of suspicious activity and report fires immediately. Around 90% of fires are started by human interference, so if the public can contribute to reducing this number, that would have the greatest impact. In terms of assisting during a fire – don’t be a fire tourist (I know this is hard as I was once one). Drop off donations at a designated food point and if you have the pocket for it, contribute a small amount to fire awareness and prevention programmes or volunteer groups,” he urged.
To view more images and video you can go to https://www.sullivanphotography.org
Pictures and video: Justin Sullivan